Fireboards, Felines and Festivities

No sooner have we pushed René adrift from the shores of PastMastery, but we start to chart a course to our next commission!

This one is for a chimney board for a Georgian dollshouse.

We have just touched on Fireboards before, in this blog. ( “Lend me your ears ” )

Chimney boards or fireboards are not the same as firescreeens, though they are often mistaken for them. There are actually very few still in existence as they were often destroyed – funnily enough, by fire!

Fireboards were used to insert into the actual grate to keep out the draught and to prettify the black hole in the summer months. Firescreens, are free standing items used to put in front of the fire when lit to shield the occupants of a room from excessive heat.

Beautifully painted firescreen

There are also smaller versions called Pole screens which were used by ladies to prevent reddening of the face when sitting close to the fire.

Pole screen designed to shield the face

You can make a fireboard of anything, any subject. One finds dogs, cats, piles of books, vases with or without flowers, scenes, imitation tapestry, Berlin work and Still life.

My client has seen the Oudry Fireboard which I painted in miniature some while ago. Here it is doing its job!

The PastMastery Oudry fireboard with the Ginger Jar, Lamport pair - 17th c. children and the King Charles Spaniel all in miniature. All oil on wood.

Jean Baptiste Oudry ( 1686-1755 ) was a specialist decorative painter amongst other things. His animals are superb and his dogs, absolute perfection! They often appear on his fireboards.

Here is one kept in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scotland.

Fire or Chimney board of a dog by Jean Baptiste Oudry

Why are fireboards lumped in with dummy boards?

Because the best of them are usually painted in trompe l’oeil, ( which as we know if we have been paying attention… means deceiving the eye ). 😉 as are dummy boards.

The Vase of flowers and tiles.

They are painted so as to make us think that, there in the grate, is a real animal, a real bunch of flowers or a real fire, crackling merrily away!

Sorry these are only in black and white but I think you get the picture ? 😉

My client fancies a cat or two.Perhaps sitting on a cushion.

Here is one I ran up earlier, of kittens in a jewellery box ….a dummy board just over an inch across!

Miniature PastMastery dummy board of kittens in a jewellery box. 19th c

I haven’t as yet come across a fireboard with a cat on it but I have found a few dummy board cats on cushions.

Perhaps we shall use one of those.

Meanwhile whilst all this displacement activity nay…research ( thank you Sandra ) is going on….I had better get on with my lacemaker. She is now ready to be cut out.

It is simply the most beautiful day today….mmmm, maybe I won’t stay in and work..perhaps I’ll go off with DD and see what the birds are doing in the Riverside Walk….?

Have you ever noticed that ( those of you who have canine companions ) when you are simply thinking about going out for a W.A.L.K.I.E.S. just mulling it over, so to speak…no words said, no looks thrown in their direction, no leads brandished nor coats picked out, that there is a raising of heads from their ( usually ) prone position and a piercing stare directed in your general vicinity?

Telepathy…definitley telepathy.

That is one other skill that Delphi the Divinatory Dog can add to her CV. Telepathic Terrier.

Her CV is quite impressive by the way. She isn’t two yet, but for most of those two years she has been the mascot for the Brackley Morris Men.

She tells me she will be out tomorrow celebrating the 750th anniversary of the granting of Brackley’s charter.

Brackley Town Celebrations

Put the W.A.L.K.. on hold then… better wash her Morris dog collar!

Can’t let the ol’ girl down….

Delphi Dog in her Morris outfit!

Just you wait till May Day!

2 Responses to “Fireboards, Felines and Festivities”

  1. julie Says:

    LOL I just love Delphi dog in her morris outfit ! such a cutie :0)
    I also love the idea of the cat fireboard and will be looking out for progress of that commission,
    julie xxx

  2. pastmastery Says:

    Thanks Julie. Delphi had a great day yesterday..pix will appear on the blog soon.
    The sun shone, the breeze was gentle enough to cool the brows of Brackley Morris Men, the company was cordial and the grub was good.
    What more could you want?

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