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Firedog

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1576 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast iron

  • Museum number:

    M.1A-1985

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 58, Bromley-by-Bow Room, case WE, shelf EXP

Object Type
Firedogs are designed to stand on either side of the fireplace and hold burning logs above the floor to allow an updraft. Wrought iron firedogs survive from the Iron Age and the basic design has remained unchanged. Until the early 16th century firedogs were usually made of wrought iron but records confirm that from the 1540s onward cast iron firedogs were produced in great numbers.

Materials & Making
This firedog is of cast iron, a material first used in Europe around 1400 for military purposes. In Britain, military and domestic objects were being made from this material by around 1500. Using cast iron to make firedogs was cheaper and quicker than using wrought iron and it had the advantage of making the mass production of a single design possible.

People
The inscription on this firedog, 'Wyllam Man', probably refers to the name of the owner rather than the maker.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1576 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Cast iron

Marks and inscriptions

Cast with the name Wyllam Man"

Dimensions

Height: 60.5 cm, Width: 32.5 cm, Depth: 53 cm

Object history note

Made in England

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Fire dogs held the logs off the hearth, allowing air to get underneath them, which was necessary if the logs were to burn well. The chimney-piece and hearth were naturally the focus of attention in an age when the fire provided both heat and light. In 1576 William Man was choosing a fashionable Renaissance design for his new dogs, with the uprights in the form of classical columns. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

Dated 1576

Categories

Household objects; Metalwork; British Galleries

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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