This antique cast iron fireback features the coat of arms of Michel Larcher III, Marquis d’Olisy, seigneur de Bajacourt, baron de Baye. Larcher III was appointed as intendant (steward) of Chalons from 1692-1699 by Louis XIV, King of France. Chalons was a city in the Champagne province, in the northeast of France. The fireback was produced in nearby Lorraine, circa 1850.
The rectangular fireback has an arched top and thick molding along all edges except the bottom. Beneath the arch is an open crown on top of a scrolled shield. The oval escutcheon has been emblazoned with a chevron accompanied by two florets. Beneath the point of the chevron is a patriarchal cross, known as “The Cross of Lorraine”. Two bird supporters with folded wings perch on volute scrolls above a foliate branch that runs horizontally.
Firebacks date back to the 15th century and were designed to radiate heat from wood-burning fires. Cast iron is very hearty and the firebacks would also protect the back wall of the fireplace. They can still be used in this fashion, but you may frequently see them used as a stove backsplash.
CONDITION: Wear commensurate to age and use with buildup and light oxidation. Some faded elements due to exposure to fire and smoke. Please see photos for details.