A pair of very large Jacobean style oak fireplaces,
each fire surround with a panelled overmantel, ornamented with architectural cartouches carved in relief; on one - a pair of broken triangular pediments centred with cabachon shields above a pair of arched pedimented panels with strapwork ornament, on the other - the arched pediments take the upper-register, above conforming panels with the triangular pediments, these flanked with avian monopodia, both fireplaces with an inverted breakfront shelf above a cushion-moulded frieze, centred with a tablet, and both flanked with full-height pilasters, supporting the cornice with ionic capitals,
£18,500 the pair
These fabulous oak fire surrounds are known to have been put into store in the mid 1960’s in a milking-parlour on an estate in Suffolk. They have remained there, undisturbed, for over 60years.
The design of the fireplaces is Jacobean – early 17th Century – although we have yet to identify the original model on which they may have been based; the architectural format of such fireplaces was widespread (a good example in cedar-wood, with similar architectural embellishments, can be seen in the Jerusalem Chamber in Westminster Abbey). Nor do we know the building that they were originally installed in – their construction appears to be late-Victorian or Edwardian – and could have been for a domestic or municipal context. They are well-made and beautifully carved. After decades dry-stored in the dis-used milking parlour they have an attractive silver-grey patina.
We do know that the fireplaces were placed into store by Sir Frederick Minter (1887-1976) who had taken on the running of his father’s construction firm in 1926. Minter’s was continually at work in the stores of Oxford Street – whether building or refurbishing – and other reconstructions they undertook include the Nottingham Exchange and Sadler’s Wells Theatre – research continues to see if these fireplaces might have been salvaged from any of these projects. New construction projects included the Duchess Theatre (1929), the BBC’s Broadcasting House, the LCC cottage estate at Roehampton (1935) and the Fleet Air Arm headquarters, Lee-on-Solent, with postwar structures including the Bracken House in the City of London (original headquarters of the Financial Times).