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Chimney ornament

Chimney ornament

  • Place of origin:

    Birmingham (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1840 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Day, B. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Brass, cast and stamped, partly lacquered black; circular face screen missing from the top

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 120, The Wolfson Galleries, case 1 []

Object Type
This chimney ornament and its pair (M.64A-1967), are examples of the cheaply-made metal ornaments produced in Birmingham in the 1830s and 1840s. Spill-containers and chimney ornaments in brass were especially popular. The shafts are telescopic, and each contains a folded silk or paper sheet which opens out to make a small circular screen. The brass mounts were fitted into the top of the shaft.

Underneath the foot is a label which reads 'B. Days' patent chimney ornaments to represent Gothic architecture are so constructed that they may be used for fire-screens, flower or scent jars, time-piece cases, candle-shades and various useful purposes. Manufactured by Patentee, Snow Hill, Birmingham. Appointed manufacturer to His Majesty. The portability and elegance of these fire-screens give them decided preference to all others'.

Ornaments of this form have plaques on the base, stamped Day's Patent with the Royal coat of arms.

Design Attitude
The designs are loosely based on Gothic architecture and were manufactured by stamping or casting. Day was a prosperous Birmingham manufacturer whose 'Birmingham Gothic' wares were particularly despised by the Gothic Revival architect and designer A.W.N. Pugin (1812-52). In his True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture, published in 1841, Pugin severely lampooned these products. One is illustrated in his plate 24 and entitled 'Patterns of Brummagen Gothic'.

Place of Origin

Birmingham (made)


ca. 1840 (made)


Day, B. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Brass, cast and stamped, partly lacquered black; circular face screen missing from the top

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed 'Days Patent' and carrying a label


Height: 56.5 cm, Width: 16 cm

Object history note

Manufactured by B. Day in Snow Hill, Birmingham

Descriptive line

1st of pair of chimney ornaments, with gothic mounts

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

North, Anthony, R.E., "Contrasts: English Gothic Revival Wares in Brass", Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, Volume 14, June 2006, p. 32, Fig. 1

Labels and date

British Galleries:
By the 1830s, the Medieval Revival style was popular enough to be used in cheap metalwares. In 1841 the design reformer A.W.N. Pugin, attacked such chimney ornaments, used in pairs for decorating the mantelpiece, as false versions of the Gothic style. In his 'True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture', they are illustrated with other metalwork under the title 'Patterns of Brummagem Gothic'. [27/03/2003]


Household objects


Metalwork Collection

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