Fire Screen

1787 (made)
Fire Screen thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 120, The Wolfson Galleries
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Rolled paperwork became a popular pastime for young women in the late 18th and 19th centuries, and was used to decorate small objects such as screens, boxes and tea caddies. Flowers were favourite motifs, and initials and dates were often incorporated when the item was intended as a gift for a friend or relative.

Design & Designing
The intricate border patterns around the edges of the screen may have been copied from published sheets which were available from shops such as 'The Temple of Fancy' at 34 Rathbone Place, London. Pattern sheets were also printed in periodicals, such as The Ladies Magazine, which promoted rolled paperwork as a suitable activity for young women.

Materials & Making
The effect used to decorate the screen, known as 'filigree' work at the time, is achieved by tightly coiling hundreds of narrow strips of paper which are then glued to a flat surface. Rolled paperwork 'kits' were available from cabinet-makers, and included coloured and gilded papers as well as a wooden box or tea caddy. In 1791 the cabinet-maker Charles Elliott (active 1783-1810), purveyor of artists' materials to the royal family, supplied Princess Elizabeth with 'fifteen ounces of different filigree papers, one ounce gold paper, and a box made for filigree work with ebony moulding, lock and key, lined inside and out'.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Stand for Pole Screen
  • Fire Screen Panel
  • Finial
Materials and Techniques
Rolled paperwork on a wooden frame
Brief Description
Fire screen or pole screen, mahogany with rolled paperwork probably by Princess Elizabeth in London, 1787
Dimensions
  • Height: 124.5cm
  • Width: 55cm
Credit line
Purchased with the assistance of a gift from John Alexander Fothergill and his family and the Brigadier Clark Fund through The Art Fund
Object history
Princess Elizabeth, the third daughter of George III, is said to have made this panel of rolled paperwork for her physician, Dr. Alexander Fothergill. Rolled paperwork was only one of many arts practised by Princess Elizabeth and her five sisters, encouraged by their mother Queen Charlotte. They received tuition in a range of skills including drawing, velvet-painting and lithography.
Summary
Object Type
Rolled paperwork became a popular pastime for young women in the late 18th and 19th centuries, and was used to decorate small objects such as screens, boxes and tea caddies. Flowers were favourite motifs, and initials and dates were often incorporated when the item was intended as a gift for a friend or relative.

Design & Designing
The intricate border patterns around the edges of the screen may have been copied from published sheets which were available from shops such as 'The Temple of Fancy' at 34 Rathbone Place, London. Pattern sheets were also printed in periodicals, such as The Ladies Magazine, which promoted rolled paperwork as a suitable activity for young women.

Materials & Making
The effect used to decorate the screen, known as 'filigree' work at the time, is achieved by tightly coiling hundreds of narrow strips of paper which are then glued to a flat surface. Rolled paperwork 'kits' were available from cabinet-makers, and included coloured and gilded papers as well as a wooden box or tea caddy. In 1791 the cabinet-maker Charles Elliott (active 1783-1810), purveyor of artists' materials to the royal family, supplied Princess Elizabeth with 'fifteen ounces of different filigree papers, one ounce gold paper, and a box made for filigree work with ebony moulding, lock and key, lined inside and out'.
Collection
Accession Number
W.31:1 to 3-1984

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdApril 27, 2001
Record URL