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. Damage and subsequent repair to the bottom right corner has obliterated a letter 'M' seen on another casting; presumably part of 'IM'. 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, following W. R. Lethaby, asserted was a forgery claiming indications that a ‘6’ had been erased. Undoubtedly the first '5' is more prominent than the other figures though the exact method by which it has been substituted is not clear. Corrosion to the bottom right corner may have obliterated a letter 'M' seen on another casting; presumably part of 'IM'.

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

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

    Citation: Lethaby, W. R., 1 Oct 1926, 'English Cast Iron - I', The Builder, 131, no. 4365, pp. 537-8.

    Citation: Lower, M. A., 1866, 'The Antiquities preserved in the Museum of Lewes Castle', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 18, pp. 60-73.

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

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

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

  6. 1285

    shurlock_row,_great_martins.jpg
    875 x 560 mm

    Description: Rectangular; ovolo-moulded, gadrooned edging (top and sides); lower centre, a vertical spindle between two vertical spindles of a different form each surmounted by a fleur-de-lys; the date split by the top of the middle spindle; the initials above the first two and last two figures of the date.

    Notes: The gadrooned style of edging is a distinctive feature of this group of firebacks, the style of fleur-de-lys being observed on two other backs within the group.

    Inscription: I B / 1 6 5 0

    Manufactured: in 1650 possibly at Cuckfield Furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Waltham St Lawrence, Berkshire, England.

  7. 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).

  8. 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 (no. 590) 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:, not known.

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