The fire screen was introduced during the Rococo period. The London cabinetmaker Thomas Sheraton explained its use as “to shelter the face or legs from the fire,” to retain heat and block drafts. His contemporary George Hepplewhite recommended that “screens may be ornamented variously, with maps, Chinese figures, needle-work, etc.,” the latter providing a highly visible display for the lady of the household’s stitchery. The Philadelphia cabinetmaker’s price lists specify a fire screen similar to this example, with claw feet, “Leaves on the knees,” and “fluting the Pillars” for exactly the same charge as a folding stand with carved feet, leaves, and a plain top.

Book excerpt: Warren, David B., Michael K. Brown, Elizabeth Ann Coleman, and Emily Ballew Neff. American Decorative Arts and Paintings in the Bayou Bend Collection. Houston: Princeton Univ. Press, 1998.


Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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Maker
American
Title
Fire Screen
Date
c. 1750–1800
Medium
Mahogany, black walnut, and needlework
Dimensions
59 1/2 × 22 1/8 × 19 1/2 in. (151.1 × 56.2 × 49.5 cm)
Credit Line

The Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg

Current Location
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
DRAWING ROOM
Accession Number
B.56.5
Classification
Furniture
Provenance

[American Art Association, Anderson Galleries, New York, November 4, 1933]; [Ginsburg & Levy, New York, 1933–1956]; purchased by Miss Ima Hogg, July 3, 1956; given to MFAH.