First used about 450-500 years ago to reflect and disperse heat from a fire, firebacks were often cast with themes specific to the homeowner. Sometimes the iron would feature a familial coat of arms, or in the case of this 17th century semis de fleur de lys fireback, decorative motifs would represent the owner.
The rectangular fireback has an arched top and a thick multi-layered molding along all edges. In the center is a raised heraldic shield with multiple fleur de lys charges, arranged in a pattern known as semis. A crinkled ribbon transverses the top edge, beneath a papal mitre and crozier topped with a volute leaf, indicating that the original owner was possibly a member of the church, possibly even a bishop. The iron has developed a fascinating chalky gray patina and can still be used functionally in a traditional fireplace. The semis fleur de lys fireback can also be hung as an architectural or positioned in a kitchen as a rangetop backsplash.
CONDITION: Good antique condition, with fleabites and light rubs. The iron has developed a unique chalky gray patina with some minor oxidation, commensurate to age and use. Please see photos for details.