Firebacks

914mm wide

  1. 957

    chateau_de duras.jpg
    ~914 x ~940 mm

    Description: Upon a rectangular base plinth, an arched rectangular, ovolo-moulded panel containing a draped cloth (disclosing on the reverse the arms of Duras) upon which two oval shields are surmounted by a ducal coronet, and encircled by the collars of the Orders of St Michel and Saint-Esprit. Behind the cloth are crossed batons of a Marshal of France; on each side are flattened S-scrolls with tassels.

    Notes: In all probability the arms of Jean-Baptiste de Durfort, Duc de Duras (1684-1770), created Marshal of France in 1741.

    Arms: Durfort, duc de Duras

    Manufactured: in the early to mid 18th century in France.

    Current location: Chateau de Duras, Duras, Lot-et-Garonne, France.

  2. 955

    crowther_01.jpg
    914 x 838 mm

    Description: Composite; canted arched rectangular shape; armorial fireback, cavetto edging, with Stuart Royal arms, garter, supporters, crown and motto, and 1620 date above crown; this overlies a canted rectangular plate, with twisted rope edging, fillet; two quasi-horizontal fillets from the tops of the vertical sides to the middle of the armorial fireback separate the back into two uneven parts, the date in the top part, split by the armorial, and a fleur-de-lys at the top of the lower part, also separated by the armorial.

    Notes: The use of the armorial back is seen frequently and probably dates from 1619, though the date is usually altered; in this case the alteration does not match the more prominent date for the fireback; photograph ex T. Crowther & Son Ltd, 1985.

    Inscription: 16 29 / HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE / 16 37 / DIEV ET MON DROIT

    Arms: English Stuart royal

    Manufactured: in 1637 possibly in the Forest of Dean area of England.

    Current location:.

  3. 271

    dorchester_museum 02.jpg
    914 x 1067 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shaped central panel with top corners cavetto canted, bead-and-pellet edging on a wide fillet; hanging drapery with central tassels over three low-arched cubicles, the two outer smaller than the centre, with Tuscan columns and overlapping scales behind; on a plinth of overlapping scales with a scallop shell behind, the standing figure of Neptune/Poseidon, holding a trident in his right hand; water issues from by his feet and from the waves below him disport two ‘sea horses’ and three dolphins; arched rectangular shaped border with top corners cavetto canted, fillet edging: suspended symmetrical beads with tassel ends decorated with sea shells; between two looped 'W' figures, the inscription separating halves of the date along the bottom; above, a central scallop shell with symmetrical floral scrolls on each side.

    Notes: From a design in 'Nouveaux livres de ...Statues [etc.]' (La Haye & Amsterdam 1702-5), by Daniel Marot. The inscription, translated as 'GOD He is our strength', is a paraphrase of Psalm 46: 1; the original wooden pattern is in the Historisch Museum, Rotterdam; an identical inscription and date is found on several firebacks. All incorporate the looped 'W' motif which may be intended to identify the pattern maker. Formerly at Dogwells Farmhouse, Corscombe, Dorset; another example is at Lower Brockhampton farmhouse, Herefordshire, having originally been in Dunster Castle, Somerset.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 17 DVW Ydyw Ein Cadernid 24

    Manufactured: in 1724 in England.

    Current location: Dorset County Museum, Dorchester, Dorset, England.

    (part of the Dorset County Museum museum group)

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2010, British Cast-Iron Firebacks of the 16th to Mid-18th Centuries (Crawley, Hodgers Books).

  4. 941

    fawley_court  01.jpg
    914 x 762 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; scalloping within wide fillet edging; shield, helm, crest and mantling; date split either side of armorial

    Notes: The arms are of Kyrle (vert, a chevron between three fleurs de lys or; crest: on a mount vert a hedgehog or) of Much Marcle, Herefordshire, quartered with ?Abrahall (azure three hedgehogs or, though differenced by a fess) and another identified arms. The second part of the date appears to have been altered by hand for the present casting as the style of lettering for the final two numerals is crude compared with the first two. Sir John Kyrle may have operated the iron furnace at Whitchurch, between Monmouth and Ross on Wye; the style of the carving is the same as on two other firebacks in the same county. It is apparent, from another example, that this fireback has either been broken and repaired, or deliberately reduced in height. Originally the mantling of the helm extended further down, ending in tassels on each side, making the height of the fireback approximately equal to its width. An early photograph of the Fawley fireback, taken by Alfred Watkins, the Herefordshire antiquarian, shows the division of the two parts more clearly (Herefordshire Record Office, AW339b). A copy of the original, un-reduced fireback has been noted with the date 1685 in the distinctive numerals also seen on firebacks from Flaxley Furnace, Gloucestershire.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 16 20

    Arms: Kyrle quartering Abrahall and another

    Manufactured: in 1620 possibly at Whitchurch furnace in the Herefordshire area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Fawley, Herefordshire, England.

    Citation: Second Field Meeting 25th June 1918, Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club, 1918, p. xvi.

  5. 112

    hastings_003.jpg
    914 x 508 mm

    Description: Rectangular with twisted rope edging; straight lengths of rope re-stamped to make longer lengths in the shape of a saltire on each side and a 'V' in the middle.

    Notes: The arrangement of the rope lengths may have an apotropaic significance, a double 'v' alluding to the Virgin Mary.

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, Hastings, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: 952.51.20 (part of the Hastings Museum museum group)

    Citation: Easton, T. & Hodgkinson, J. S., 2013, 'Apotropaic Symbols on Cast-Iron Firebacks', Jnl. of the Antique Metalware Soc., 21, pp. 14-33.

  6. 1127

    heathfield,_best demolition 914x762x.jpg
    914 x 762 mm

    Description: Plain rectangle; no edging; top centre, date between two six-pointed stars.

    Notes: Characteristic of the last firebacks cast at Ashburnham Furnace, Sussex. One of a small series of firebacks cast in the early-19th century for farms on the Ashburnham estate.

    Inscription: * 1812 *

    Manufactured: in 1812 at Ashburnham furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location:, England.

  7. 959

    staveley_hall.jpg
    ~914 x ~866 mm

    Description: Arched shape; twisted rope edging (top and sides); top centre, shield of impaled arms; date above shield; initials, in triad ('F above), to right of shield.

    Notes: The arms are of Sir Peter Frecheville (1575-1634) of Staveley Hall, Derbyshire, and his first wife, Joyce Osborne, née Fleetwood (d.1619), whom he had married in the year of the fireback's casting; the blazon is as follows: (Frecheville) Azure, a bend between six escallops argent; (Fleetwood) Per pale nebuly or and azure, six martlets, two, two and two counterchanged (the tinctures, as painted, are incorrect). At the bottom of the fireback there appears to be the remains of a runner by which the molten iron flowed into the sand mould.

    Inscription: 1605 / PFI

    Arms: Frecheville impaling Fleetwood

    Manufactured: in 1605 probably at Staveley furnace in the Derbyshire area of England.

    Current location: Staveley Hall, Staveley Hall Drive, Staveley, Derbyshire, England.

  8. 715

    unknown_16 bay hall, lincs 914x610.jpg
    914 x 610 mm

    Description: Rectangular with pediment arch; wide fillet edging rebated in side edge; upper centre, initials formed of individual letters; an unidentified series of shapes in relief in the top right corner may be thumb prints.

    Notes: The edging and letter ‘W’ are very similar to those on the ‘1589’ series of firebacks and may have the same origin. Formerly at Bay Hall, Benington, Lincolnshire.

    Inscription: WE

    Manufactured: in the late 16th century possibly in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Benington, Lincolnshire, England.