Firebacks

604mm wide

  1. 98

    handcross,_nymans 03.jpg
    604 x 822 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shaped central panel with bead edging; naked figure of Mercury/Hermes with winged helmet (petasos), holding a snake-entwined staff (caduceus); he is sitting astride a pair of bellows and blowing a straight trumpet; a twice-bent trumpet lies at his feet; the bellows are pumping air into an organ; to the right of his head is the word, AER (air - Latin); above is a swag of drapery; outside the panel is a narrow border of the same shape with fillet edging; the fireback is surmounted by a scallop shell between two outward-facing sea serpents.

    Notes: One of a series of firebacks symbolising the four elements.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: AER

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 17th century in England.

    Current location: Nymans, Staplefield Road, Handcross, Slaugham, West Sussex, England.

    Museum number: NT/NYM/M/33 (part of the National Trust museum group)