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A focus on firedogs

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What are firedogs, and why do we need them?

Traditionally, a pair of firedogs were used to hold up the andiron, the horizontal bar that supports the logs in an open fire. The andiron is held above the ground to allow the air to circulate around the fire. So, they’re an essential item if you’re planning to use your fire – and a great decorative detail if you’re not.

An American Puritan fireplace in a 1906 photograph, clearly showing the firedogs in situ. Photo: Library of Congress.

An American Puritan fireplace in a 1906 photograph, clearly showing the firedogs in situ. Photo: Library of Congress.

Sometimes called a “dog iron”, the firedog gets its name from the four-legged appearance of the andiron on its supports. A feature of the fireplace since Ancient Greek times, the firedog was often used to hold a spit.

We have a wide selection of antique firedogs, from the simple to the elegant to the quirky. Naturally, they became a focus for decoration in higher-end antique fireplaces, and we see a fantastic range of designs and ornamentation. Portable and adaptable, they can be used to change the appearance of a fireplace without having to commit to any structural alterations; and you can swap between decorative and functional depending on the time of year, and whether you’re lighting the fire or not.

This English cast iron pair of firedogs would work well in either a contemporary or traditional decorative scheme. They feature several key motifs found in firedogs: scrolled bases, ball finials, and barley twist design. As well as looking great, this pair is a good practical choice if you plan to use them with an open fire.

 

If your fireplace is decorative, you can try something a bit brighter. These Victorian brass firedogs would really brighten up a reclaimed fireplace. Pleasingly solid, with the popular globe design, they also have some surprisingly delicate details, such as the graceful flame finials and the foliage design between the feet.

 

Firedogs work excellently teamed with a stone, Gothic-style fireplace. This 20th-century English pair have splendid fleur-de-lys finials and a floral motif. Again, these would look spectacular with a blazing, open fire.

 

If you want your fireplace to be a real talking point, how about this stunning pair of Italian Renaissance Revival bronze figures? Featuring busts of female figures as finials, lion masks, and playful putti perching on the scrolled base, this pair of 19th-century firedogs would make a dramatic addition to your antique fireplace.

This is just a small selection from our current stock. We have over 100 pairs of firedogs in our collection, both antique and reproduction. We can supply log cradles to accompany the firedogs, and can also modify the firedogs to make sure they’re the right size. To find out more, please contact us.

And because we couldn’t resist it – here’s another type of fire dog (not in stock)…

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