Warming Pan thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 57

Warming Pan

17th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
In a period when houses were inadequately heated damp sheets and cold beds were a considerable problem. A warming-pan was used to overcome these inconveniences. The pan was filled with hot coals from the fire, then moved swiftly between the sheets using the long handle, immediately before the occupants got into the bed.

Materials
The pans are usually made from wrought iron as they are less likely to be damaged by hot coals. The lids are of brass or copper although the very wealthy had warming-pans with silver lids.

Ownership & Use
Servants had to be careful not to scorch expensive linen sheets. When not in use the warming pan was hung from a hook on the bedroom wall. With its brightly polished lid, it formed part of the ornament of a room and was usually decorated with engraving or pierced work. Warming-pans are mentioned in the 14th century in French documents and by the 17th century they had become relatively common domestic items. This warming-pan may have been made as a wedding present as the scene on the lid shows a cavalier and his lady.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Brass, with a brass mounted iron handle, the lid perforated and engraved
Brief Description
Brass (the handle of iron with brass mounts). ENGLISH; 17th century.; Brasswork
Dimensions
  • Height: 123cm
  • Pan depth: 13.5cm
  • Pan diameter: 36cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 14/07/1999 by dw
Object history
Made in England
Summary
Object Type
In a period when houses were inadequately heated damp sheets and cold beds were a considerable problem. A warming-pan was used to overcome these inconveniences. The pan was filled with hot coals from the fire, then moved swiftly between the sheets using the long handle, immediately before the occupants got into the bed.

Materials
The pans are usually made from wrought iron as they are less likely to be damaged by hot coals. The lids are of brass or copper although the very wealthy had warming-pans with silver lids.

Ownership & Use
Servants had to be careful not to scorch expensive linen sheets. When not in use the warming pan was hung from a hook on the bedroom wall. With its brightly polished lid, it formed part of the ornament of a room and was usually decorated with engraving or pierced work. Warming-pans are mentioned in the 14th century in French documents and by the 17th century they had become relatively common domestic items. This warming-pan may have been made as a wedding present as the scene on the lid shows a cavalier and his lady.
Collection
Accession Number
1462-1870

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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