Trove of Timely Treasures at Stoneywell
At this time of year, lighting a fire in the Inglenook is a very welcome sight. The fireplace provides a great function, keeping the cottage somewhat cosy on wintery days. But, like in so much of the cottage, there is also an Ernest Gimson design nearby, to add some arts and crafts beauty to the scene.
Sat next to the fireplace in the Sitting Room at Stoneywell are the fire dogs and irons, comprising of a stand, set of tongs, shovel and hearth brush. They had a very useful purpose, to tend the fires in the cottage. But, look closely and you will also see a beautiful design. There are a variety of patterns to be spotted, found in many of Ernest's work, such as punched dots and lines, also shapes inspired by nature.
Ernest Gimson started designing metal work around 1900, for a time he had his own forge in Sapperton, Gloucestershire, and at other times, worked with local blacksmiths. They produced fittings for Ernest's furniture, as well as other metal work, such as candlesticks, sconces and fire dogs.
The fire dogs, made out of wrought iron and mild steel, were made circa 1903 by Alfred Bucknell. Alfred was one of the local blacksmiths, in Tunley, Gloucestershire, who made many pieces to Gimson designs.
Made circa 1913, the fire irons are no longer used. But, they are a reminder of the dual role of many objects at Stoneywell, to be both useful and beautiful.