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Fire Screen

On view

Fire Screen

Date: 1840-1860
Medium: Rosewood
Overall: 47 x 31 1/2in. (119.4 x 80cm)
Markings: "back" on upper frame of tapestry on back.
Credit Line: Museum Purchase from Robert Palmiter
Object number: 60.74
Label Text
A decorative fire screen shielded a person from excessive fireplace heat during the colder weather and served as an attractive artwork in front of an empty fireplace in warmer months. The ornate wood structures served as frames for needlework created by a lady of the house. Patterns for decorating fire screens and other household items were widely available in women's periodicals such as the American magazine "Godey's Ladys' Book."

Biblical scenes, landscapes, and historical events became popular subject matter for needlepoint projects in the 1840s. This panel portrays the dramatic scene of Christ carrying the cross. Glass beads on the soldiers' spear tips and on the shield add realism to the image.

This fire screen is a combination of two nineteenth-century styles--Rococo Revival and Renaissance Revival. Both styles made use of curved lines and motifs derived from nature such as leaves, shells, fruit, and flowers.