Characteristic for this period is primarily the use of wrought iron and the rise of the cast fireback around 1500. Wrought iron andirons are much older. The first andiron was found in Pompeii. In the Middle Ages, andirons took on the rustic form that you often still see now. They are often fitted with spit hooks and cups on the ends. Starting in approximately 1300, andirons were given decorations, such as garlands, animal heads (dogs and cows), armed men, the ‘wild men’ and coats of arms, often those of the landlord. The andirons protect the fire and thereby the house, which is why they were given protective symbols. Another English word for andirons (firedogs) comes from the dogs that protect the fire and the hearth. In the Gothic style, the illustrations on firebacks are primarily religiously inspired. They have primitive motifs, including primitive coats of arms, and religious symbols. Tudor is a specific Gothic style in England during the first period of the Royal House of Tudor (1500 – 1560). It is a late Middle Ages style that occurred in a later period than on the continent, where the Renaissance style began in 1500.
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