Cast in France, circa 1900, this thick fireback depicts the coat of arms of the La Bourdonnaye family. The most noted member is François-Régis de La Bourdonnaye, a national deputy of France during the early- to mid-1800’s, who was also Comte de La Bretèche.
Exceptionally thick motifs dominate the heraldic display, which has two lion supporters holding a rectangular shield with three lion charges. The escutcheon is textured with vertical hatches and is topped by an open five-point crown. Beneath the shield is a ribbon banner with Latin that reads in cruces pes et robur (“hope and strength in the cross”). The lions stand on a large acanthus margent that emanates from the banner and sprawls outwards.
Originally designed to protect the back of fireplaces from smoke and soot, firebacks also reflect heat from the fire back into the room. Although our cast iron coat of arms fireback with the coat of arms of La Bourdonnaye can still be used in this method, they are often seen as stove backsplashes in kitchens in today’s homes. It can also be used as a decorative plaque, inset into an exterior wall.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with minor rubs and scratches, both commensurate to age and use. Some areas have developed an oxidized patina.