Firebacks

Manufactured in 1649

  1. 831

    burlington_house 1894 01.jpg
    ~1037 x ~1004 mm

    Description: Rectangular with small detached pediment; cavetto-moulded edging; upper centre, shield, helm, crest and mantling, with date, 1635, split either side of crest; top, date, 1649, split either side of armorial; initials split either side of armorial, below date.

    Notes: The armorial, tentatively associated with the family of Brooke or Broke of Lapley, Staffordshire (blazon: chequy argent and sable, impaling a chevron between three estoiles), dated 1635, was formed from a pattern designed for a smaller fireback (q.v.), but positioned on a larger backing board with the later date and initials added separately, most of the frame of the original fireback being pared away. From an illustration in the catalogue of an exhibition on heraldry at Burlington House, London, in 1894.

    Inscription: 16 35 / 16 49 / R B

    Arms: poss. Brooke or Broke of Lapley, Staffordshire

    Manufactured: in 1649 in England.

    Current location:.

    Citation: St John Hope, W. H. (ed.), 1894, Illustrated Catalogue of the Heraldic Exhibition at Burlington House, Society of Antiquaries.

  2. 37

    cowbeech,_court horeham.jpg
    850 x 670 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shaped; cavetto moulded edging; male figure in dress of the period, right hand on hip, left hand holding reins, astride a prancing horse; date and inscription (letter 'N' reversed) follow inside top edge.

    Notes: Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax of Cameron (1612-1671), commander of the New Model Army, which probably prompted the epithet, conqueror. 1649 was the year of Charles I’s execution, to which Fairfax was opposed.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 1649 LD FAIRFAX COVNQVIROR

    Manufactured: in 1649 in England.

    Current location: in private hands, Cowbeech, East Sussex, England.

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

  3. 550

    pet-m-92.jpg
    390 x 550 mm

    Description: Rectangular; flanged edging; rectangular upper panel with cyma recta edging; pictorial scene of Jesus sitting at the well with the woman of Samaria, inscription along the bottom edge; lower inset rectangular panel with date in relief.

    Notes: The inscription reads: From the maiden of Samaria - John 4

    Inscription: VOM FROWLEIN VON SAMARIA JOH 4 / 1649

    Manufactured: in 1649 possibly in the Eifel area of Germany.

    Current location: Petworth House, Petworth, West Sussex, England.

    Museum number: NT/PET/M/92 (part of the National Trust museum group)

  4. 1098

    scm_13, 284, palfrey farm, petworth.jpg
    ~1300 x ~700 mm

    Description: Rectangular shape; indeterminate moulded edging; central initials (A? D M)in triad, between split date (6 reversed).

    Notes: The characters have been derived from an odd assortment: the numbers appear to be a recognisable character set, with the 6 and 9 interchangeable; the 6/9 has also been used, with the same stamp as has been used to form the uprights of the M, to construct a probable capital A (or R); the nature of the stamps forming the M is unclear. Noted in 1939 at Palfrey Farm, Petworth, West Sussex, which from the mid-16th century had been home to the Penycod family, suggesting that the fireback had not been original to the house.

    Inscription: 16 / A[?] D M [triad] / 49

    Manufactured: in 1649 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location:.

    Citation: Smail, H. C. P., April 1939, 'Iron Firebacks' [letter], Sussex County Magazine, 13, 4, p. 284.

  5. 763

    va_39.jpg
    800 x 710 mm

    Description: Quasi-Arched rectangular shape with cyma reversa shoulders; ovolo edging; stylised lion passant guardant; crowned rose with leaf and stem on left, crowned fleur de lys on right, thistle with leaves above centre; three right-facing scrolls at base; down-facing scroll, with staple, on right side; date split between bottom corners; initials below date, bottom right.

    Notes: Blatantly Royalist in its symbolism, a variant is dated (perhaps more convincingly) 1641. Numeral style, initials, leaf depiction and the stapled scroll are typical features of firebacks made from patterns by the same maker. A later version of the same subject, but with a different shaped plate and without the fleur-de-lys, is also known (see 'Royalist series'). M. A. Lower writes of this design of fireback being cast at Waldron Furnace in Sussex (Lower, 1849, p.219).

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 16 49 / IM

    Manufactured: in 1649 possibly at Brede furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, Kensington & Chelsea, Greater London, England.

    Museum number: 492.1901 (part of the Victoria & Albert Museum museum group)

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2007, 'A Godly chimney plate and other firebacks from Brede', Wealden Iron, 2nd ser., 27, pp. 18-26

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

    Citation: Lloyd, N., 1925, 'Domestic Ironwork I', Architectural Review, 58, pp. 58-67.

    Citation: Lower, M. A., 1849, 'Iron Works of the County of Sussex', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 2, pp. 169-220 (esp. pp. 188-9).

  6. 769

    va_45.jpg
    560 x 475 mm

    Description: Rectangular; cavetto-moulded edge; a snake rises from a fire and bites the middle finger of the hand of a sleeved left arm that descends from a top right corner cloud; left and right, ‘S’ scrolls appear strapped to the edge of the fireback; the date, top left of centre; initials, bottom right corner.

    Notes: An illustration of New Testament, Acts 28: 3. The distinctive shape of the ‘1’ in the date and the initials, ‘IM’, together with the ‘S’ scrolls, parallel such features in other firebacks linked with Brede furnace. The design is an adaptation of an illustration in 'Devises Heroiques' by Claudius Paradin (1557) which was translated into English by Geoffrey Whitney as 'The Book of Emblemes' (1586).

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 1649 / IM

    Manufactured: in 1649 possibly at Brede furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, Kensington & Chelsea, Greater London, England.

    Museum number: M.119-1984 (part of the Victoria & Albert Museum museum group)

    Citation: Hamling, T., 2010, Decorating the 'Godly' Household (New Haven, Yale), pp. 251-2.

    Citation: Hamling, T., 2015, 'Seeing Salvation in the Domestic Hearth in Post-Reformation England' in J. Willis (ed.), Sin and Salvation in Reformation England (Farnham, Ashgate Publishing), 223-44.

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2014, 'A Seventeenth-Century Sussex Woodcarver: The Evidence of Cast Ironwork', Regional Furniture, 28, pp. 39-48

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