First used about 450-500 years ago to reflect and disperse heat from the fireplace, firebacks are often cast in iron in proportion to the size of the fireplace. Based on its size, this fireback, which is from circa 1600, would have most likely been used in conjunction with a large fireplace.
The fireback features the coat of arms of King Henry IV of France, which is a coat of arms shield with three fleur de lys (known as “France modern”) on the dexter field and the arms of Navarre on the other side. There is a closed crown on top of the escutcheon and the entire heraldic display is surrounded by a foliate wreath. A pair of lion supporters are holding the wreath beneath three arches of roundels. The center arch is much larger than the two flanking it, as there is a mascaron beneath with two overflowing cornucopias emerging from the mouth. A thick egg and dart border graces the edges of the rectangular fireback with angular canted corners.
Today, firebacks are still used to disperse heat in fireplaces, although you might find them used as a backsplash above a kitchen stove. The circa 1600 cast iron fireback with the Coat of Arms of King Henry IV has a deep, rich patina. It can also be installed architecturally as a decorative piece of wall art.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with minor fading and oxidation. Two braces have been affixed to the back via bolts as an old repair. Strong and sturdy condition. Please see photos for details.