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Chimney board - Vase with Flowers (chimney board)

Vase with Flowers (chimney board)

  • Object:

    Chimney board

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1720- ca.1740 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on pine panel

  • Credit Line:

    Supported by the Friends of the V&A

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 54, Henrietta Street Room, case WN

Object Type
This chimney board is painted in tromp l'oeil to simulate a border of blue and white English delftware tiles. On the hearth, a blue and white vase supports an arrangement of irises, lilies, roses and tulips. The decoration reflects the common practice of placing a decorative vase or a vase of flowers on the hearth during the summer. On the top rail is part of the original turnbuckle (a knob which swivels to release the frame), used to hold the board in place.

Ownership & Use
Chimney boards were used to seal hearths against draughts and soot in the summer, and usually feature paintings of vases with flowers. The earliest surviving chimney boards are Continental and date from the late 17th century. English chimney boards were sometimes decorated by the ladies of the house in a variety of styles.

Chimney boards were not widely used in England. They were more popular in the American colonies, where they became a branch of folk art.

Materials & Making
The chimney board is of panel and frame construction. The frame would prevent the panel from bowing and would have allowed for inevitable shrinkage of the panel, ensuring that the overall size of the chimney board remained constant. This was to ensure that it fitted closely into the fireplace for which it was intended.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca. 1720- ca.1740 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Oil on pine panel


Height: 38 cm, Width: 31 cm

Object history note

Purchased 1994

Descriptive line

Chimney board of pine, of frame and panel construction, painted in oil colours, ca.1720-ca. 1740

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Chimneyboards were used to seal and decorate hearths in the summer when fires were not needed. Very few have survived. This one shows what seem to be English copies of Dutch 'Delft' tiles of the kind that might have lined a real hearth, and a vase of fresh flowers - a frequent sight in hearths during the summer. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

British School


Oil; Panel

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Tiles; Vase


Interiors; British Galleries; Delftware; Furniture


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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