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Brazier

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1450-1500 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Copper, embossed and pierced

  • Museum number:

    7786-1863

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 64, The Wolfson Gallery, case SS, shelf 3 []

This brazier served as a portable metal heater. It is made of copper, one of the best conductors of heat and an easy metal to work. Here the metalworker has hammered from the underside or back of the metal to create the embossed decoration. The perforations ensured a flow of air to keep the embers burning.

Food and drink were often prepared a long way from the room in which they were consumed. People burned charcoal in braziers to keep kettles or pans hot and to warm rooms when there was no fire. Moderate-sized braziers were generally set down on tables or tripod stands.

Braziers have the longest and most widespread history of all types of heating apparatus. They could be used at any time and in any place, speedily ignited or conveniently stored away when not in use. They burned charcoal, a more convenient, economical and efficient fuel than raw timber. It was cheaper to transport, easier to store and longer lasting as less was needed to generate the same amount of heat. Smoke and fumes were eliminated in the open and only the glowing embers brought indoors.

Physical description

Copper brazier in 3 parts the base resting on 3 paw feet, with acanthus leaves masking where each leg joins the body. The main body is lobed at the bottom with a vertical frieze of flowers and leaves above, the centre of the flowers pierced with vent holes. The main body has 2 cast fixed ring handles. The central section is embossed with masks and scrolling vines and leaves and pierced with holes. The top section is conical with a cone-shaped finial, and is embossed with lozenge ornament and pierced with holes.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)

Date

ca. 1450-1500 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Copper, embossed and pierced

Dimensions

Height: 21.9 cm, Width: 20.5 cm, Depth: 18.5 cm, Weight: 0.86 kg

Object history note

The Museum bought this object in 1863 for £5 17s 6d. Its history prior to this is unknown.

Historical significance: Examples of relatively cheap domestic equipment from the 16th century are quite rare.

Historical context note

This brazier served as a portable metal heater. It is made of copper, one of the best conductors of heat and an easy metal to work. Here the metalworker has hammered from the underside or back of the metal to create the embossed decoration. The perforations ensured a flow of air to keep the embers burning.

Food and drink were often prepared a long way from the room in which they were consumed. People burned charcoal in braziers to keep kettles or pans hot and to warm rooms when there was no fire. Moderate-sized braziers were generally set down on tables or tripod stands.

Braziers have the longest and most widespread history of all types of heating apparatus. They could be used at any time and in any place, speedily ignited or conveniently stored away when not in use. They burned charcoal, a more convenient, economical and efficient fuel than raw timber. It was cheaper to transport, easier to store and longer lasting as less was needed to generate the same amount of heat. Smoke and fumes were eliminated in the open and only the glowing embers brought indoors.

Descriptive line

Copper brazier, embossed with masks and scrolls, and perforated; with three feet, Italian, 15th century

Materials

Copper

Techniques

Embossed; Pierced; Casting

Subjects depicted

Masks; Scrolls

Categories

Metalwork; Containers; Household objects; Tools & Equipment

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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