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 the 1700’s, would have most likely been used in conjunction with a smaller fireplace.
The shaped fireback with arched top and small canted corners has an undulating border along all sides. Three fleur de lys, a symbol of French royalty since 1376, are topped by a five-point open crown surround by curled acanthus leaves. Above the crown is a crinkled ribbon that mirrors the shape of the arched top. The thick ornamentation, set in deep relief, is still relatively intact, despite some light fading near the bottom of the iron.
Today, firebacks are still used to disperse heat, although you might find them used as a backsplash above a kitchen stove. The small 18th century cast iron fireback with the Coat of Arms of France can also be installed architecturally as a decorative wall tile or piece of art.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with fleabites. Light oxidation and fading along the bottom, both commensurate to age and use. The iron has been cleaned, pigmented, and waxed, allowing the motifs to be seen more clearly.