Early firebacks were decorated with simple designs of everyday objects such as rope, food moulds and furniture fragments.
Later designs were formed from carved wooden stamps, and entire wooden patterns or models gradually became more widely used, often displaying coats of arms of royalty, scenes from the Bible and aristocracy. These firebacks carried mythological and allegorical subjects, as well as scenes from nature.
Firebacks as decorative art are now collectors’ pieces and Yorkshire-based Elly Burdett has 20 period French firebacks among her stock of early lighting, metalwork and ceramics.
These are priced from £350-800 and she will be taking some examples to Bowman Antiques Fairs’ two-day antiques and art fair on Saturday and Sunday, November 4-5, at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate, where she is a new standholder at this 300-exhibitor fair.
Burdett’s business partner, European decoratives specialist Roy Williamson, who sources the firebacks from Europe, said: “Elly’s earliest fireback is a large armorial dated 1618. Last year she sold two very large and important documented armorial examples, dated 1560 and 1743.”
Burdett can be reached on email@example.com or 01757 429632.