Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Fireplace surround

  • Place of origin:

    Norwich (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1880 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Jeckyll, Thomas, born 1827 - died 1881 (designer)
    Barnard, Bishop and Barnard (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast iron

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Leicester Museum and Art Gallery

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Grove Room

Object Type
With the invention of the hob grate in the mid-18th century, fireplaces assumed a box-like structure with front panels that were often highly decorated. This was made possible by the improved casting techniques pioneered earlier in the century. This tradition of highly ornate, cast-iron fireplaces and decorated surrounds continued until the late 19th century.

Jeckyll trained as an architect and was active, both as an architect and designer in London and Norfolk. In the 1860s he came into contact with James McNeill Whistler and Edward William Godwin. By the 1870s he was one of the leading architects of the Aesthetic movement. He designed an interior for the Holland Park house of the collector Alexander Ionides (who bequeathed much of his collection of paintings to the V&A) and the dining room of a house in Princes Gate. The latter, on account of its later painted decoration by J.M. Whistler, became known as the Peacock Room, and is currently on display in the Freer Art Gallery, Washington, USA. Jeckyll became mentally unstable in 1877 and died in an asylum in 1881.

Design & Designing
The Aesthetic or Art movement was triggered by the display of Japanese decorative art at the London International Exhibition of 1862. Strongly influenced by Japanese design, it was a reaction to the moral hegemony of the mid-century Gothic Revival. Instead, the pursuit of 'Art for Art's sake' became a justifiable goal in itself. The movement was established when the magazine Punch paid it the tribute of making a mockery of it.

Physical description

Cast iron fireplace surround, displayed in the room from The Grove, Harborne.

Place of Origin

Norwich (made)


ca. 1880 (made)


Jeckyll, Thomas, born 1827 - died 1881 (designer)
Barnard, Bishop and Barnard (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Cast iron

Marks and inscriptions

Marked 'B' on reverse and worn diamond register mark.

Object history note

Transferred from Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, New Walk, Leicester.
Designed by Thomas Jeckyll (born in Norwich, 1827, died there in 1881)
Made by the firm of Barnard, Bishop & Barnard, Norwich

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Thomas Jeckyll, one of the leading designers of the Aesthetic style, was strongly influenced by Japanese art and design. The round motifs on this iron fireplace insert closely resemble Japanese heraldic motifs. The insert is not original to the room, but was added when the room was first displayed in the Museum in 1967. [27/03/2003]


Cast iron


Metalwork; Architectural fittings; British Galleries


Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.