- Museum number
Fire tongs; cast brass, leaf-shaped terminals and ball knop at the end for suspension; rivets incorporated as part of the design.
- Production date
- 1898-1901 (designed and madecirca)
Length: 66 centimetres
Width: 3.40 centimetres (of terminals)
- Curator's comments
- In set with 1982,0512.1
Text from J. Rudoe, 'Decorative Arts 1850-1950. A catalogue of the British Museum collection'. 2nd ed. no. 298
The earliest contemporary illustration of these fire-irons is apparently in 1901, when they were shown resting on the fender in the dining-room and study of Voysey's own house, The Orchard, Chorleywood, Hertfordshire: see The Studio, Special Summer Number, London 1901, 190, 192. The shovel and tongs were also used at Moor Crag, Windermere, built for J. W. Buckley in 1898 (see Brighton 1978, Royal Pavillion Art Gallery and Museum, 'C.F.A. Voysey:architect and designer 1857-1941', exhibition catalogue, J. Brandon-Jones et al, 134, E8), but it is not known whether they were first designed for this house or for Voysey's.
The complete set of fire-irons comprised shovel, tongs and poker. There was also a stand for all three pieces formed of a shaft on four feet surmounted by a copper sphere with a central flange having notches from which the irons were hung. At the top was a brass figure of an eagle. The irons with stand were included in the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society's exhibition of 1903, held at the New Gallery, London. The set cost £4 15s. and was executed by Thomas Elsley & Co. (Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society, Catalogue of the Seventh Exhibition, 1903, 151, no. 394U). For contemporary illustrations, see The Studio, 1903, 28, 35 and Der Moderne Stil, Stuttgart 1903, pl. 64. For a complete set with stand, formerly in the Handley-Read collection and now in the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford, see London 1972, Royal Academy, 'Victorian and Edwardian Decorative Art. The Handley-Read Collection', 101, EI14-117. See also N. Pevsner, 'Studies in Art, Architecture and Design', London 1968, 144.
The fire-irons were used repeatedly in Voysey's later interiors, for example Garden Corner, Chelsea, designed for E. J. Horniman in 1906-7. Here, figures of eagles were placed at each corner of the four-poster bed, in Voysey's words 'to drive away bad spirits' (D. Simpson, 'C.F.A. Voysey - an architect of individuality', London 1979, 125).
Information supplementary to Rudoe 1994:
See also M. Collins, 'Towards Post-Modernism, Design since 1851', London, British Museum, revised ed. 1994, fig. 28.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number