Firebacks

Manufactured in 1650

  1. 354

    keighley,_east riddlesden hall.jpg
    433 x 463 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched rectangular shaped; unique, cavetto moulded edging, which loops upon itself three times. A mythical salamander shown in the flames which legend states it is able to resist; behind is what appears to be a palm tree, on either side of which the date is stamped. Two plank-lines.

    Notes: Whole pattern with added date; one of a series of firebacks where the number ‘1’ is hooked at both ends. A variant, at Lewes, is incorrectly dated 1550.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 1650

    Manufactured: in 1650 possibly at Brede furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: East Riddlesden Hall, Keighley, Yorkshire, England.

    Museum number: NT/ERH/M/40 (part of the National Trust 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: Schubert, H. R., 1957, 'A Forgery in Iron', Journal of the Iron & Steel Institute, 165, p. 125.

  2. 407

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 041.jpg
    435 x 470 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched rectangular shaped; unique, cavetto moulded edging, which loops upon itself three times. A mythical salamander shown in the flames which legend states it is able to resist; behind is what appears to be a palm tree, on either side of which the date is stamped.

    Notes: The fireback has been incorrectly dated 1550 instead of 1650, which Schubert asserted was a forgery claiming indications that a ‘6’ had been erased. Undoubtedly the '6' is more prominent than the other figures though the exact method by which it has been substituted is not clear.

    Inscription: 1550

    Manufactured: in 1650 possibly at Brede furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Anne of Cleves House, Southover High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: LH000.901 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Dawson, C., 1903, 'Sussex Iron Work and Pottery', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 46, pp. 1-54.

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

    Citation: Schubert, H. R., 1957, 'A Forgery in Iron', Journal of the Iron & Steel Institute, 165, p. 125.

    Citation: Starkie Gardner, J., 1898, 'Iron Casting in the Weald', Archaeologia, 56, 1, pp. 133-164.

  3. 459

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 099.jpg
    766 x 580 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; fillet edging; shield, helm, crest and mantling of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths; date in top corners; initials at bottom, below mantling.

    Notes: One of the hooked ‘1’ series; unevenly impressed, the right more deeply than the left.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 16 50 / I M

    Arms: Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths

    Manufactured: in 1650 possibly at Brede furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Anne of Cleves House, Southover High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: 1933.34.046 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Dawson, C., 1903, 'Sussex Iron Work and Pottery', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 46, pp. 1-54.

    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: Starkie Gardner, J., 1898, 'Iron Casting in the Weald', Archaeologia, 56, 1, pp. 133-164.

  4. 817

    mayfield,_monks manor.jpg
    742 x 560 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; fillet edging; shield, helm, crest and mantling of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths (see Fig. 3); date in top corners; initials at bottom, below mantling; two planklines.

    Notes: One of the hooked ‘1’ series; a copy from an evenly impressed original.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 16 50 / I M

    Arms: Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths

    Manufactured: in 1650 possibly at Brede furnace in the Weald area of England.

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

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2012, 'Pre-Restoration Iron Firebacks', Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, 20, pp. 2-15

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

  5. 657

    rolvenden,_halden place.jpg
    890 x 725 mm

    Description: Rectangular with curved top corners; Arched rectangular extension on top; ovolo edging; mounted figure in 17th cent. armour riding down a dragon to the left and below, sword in hand; inscription across top and either side of horseman; date below left; initials below right.

    Notes: Probably a representation of St George and the Dragon, with political undertones, given the date. Cursius may be a mi-spelling of Marcus Curtius, who sacrificed himself for the good of Rome. Nil Desperandum - Despair not. Other firebacks also bear the initials, IM, which probably relate to the pattern maker, some with a similar style of lettering.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: CVRSIVS / NIL DESPERANDVM / 1650 / IM

    Manufactured: in 1650 possibly at Brede furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Rolvenden, Kent, England.

    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).

  6. 750

    va_26.jpg
    445 x 440 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; cavetto edging; crowned rose with symmetrical leaves; date split across top; initials split across bottom.

    Notes: The hooked ‘1’ and ‘IM’ suggests a common pattern-maker with other firebacks bearing those features.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 16 50 / I M

    Manufactured: in 1650 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.113-1953 (part of the Victoria & Albert Museum museum group)

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2012, 'Pre-Restoration Iron Firebacks', Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, 20, pp. 2-15

    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).

  7. 895

    vero_beach, fl.jpg
    679 x 540 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched rectangular shape, semi-circular protrusions on top corners; cavetto-moulded edging looped at top; two mirrored scrolls inside arch; a phoenix in flames, its wings displayed and inverted; date, in two parts, in top corners; initials in bottom right corner.

    Notes: A variant lacks the date and the initials.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 16 50 / IM

    Manufactured: in 1650 possibly at Brede furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: 492, Old Dixie Highway, Vero Beach, Florida, United States of America.

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