Four sons of the Edinburgh architect William Adam; Robert Adam, James Adam, William Adam and John Adam. Born in Kirkaldy, Scotland. James, William and Robert "Bob the Roman" worked in the London-based family practice (the eldest brother, John Adam (right), like his father, was a Palladian architect and was based in Scotland).
Famous for their neo-classical architecture and interiors designs in the late 18th century. Their fireplace style is recognised by such classical features as columned jambs, motifs of urns, lozenge forms, plaques and dainty scrollwork, and is synonymous with Georgian and Regency styling.
A rejection of moral Victorian art, this movement sought instead to create and celebrate art solely for the pleasure to be derived from its beauty. Famous exponents include James Whistler.
A genuine period piece as opposed to a reproduction. This is a Victorian cast iron combination fireplace with original tiles circa 1890.
The highest point of an arch.
From the Greek region of Arcadia; meaning idealised country life, rustic contentment and tranquility, pleasant bucolic scenes and charming pastoral setting.
An art movement of the 1920s and 1930s typified by geometric forms, stylised nature patterns, streamlining and modernism. British architectural exponents include Charles Holden (London Underground).
An artistic style. Generally associated with the period 1890-1915 Art Nouveau was a development of the Aesthetic Movement and Arts & Crafts Movement drawing heavily from the natural world and exotic influences with stylised forms and motifs juxtaposed against strict rectilinear geometry. Main architectural exponent in the UK is Charles Rennie MacIntosh (Glasgow).
Arts & Crafts Movement
An artistic style. A development of the Aesthetic movement that draws from natural and exotic influences such as Japonaiserie and Orientalism. Chief design exponent in the UK is William Morris (www.morrissociety.org).
Typical of later Victorian design, an integral drawer to enable easier cleaning of the fire. The ash pan is shown here at the bottom of the image.
Detail or carving depicting scenes of the ancient Roman festival in honor of Bacchus, the God of Wine. Usually showing riotous, boisterous, or drunken revelry.
Located behind a gas or solid fuel fire to heat water.
Of, relating to, or characteristic of a style in art and architecture developed in Europe from the early 17th to mid-18th century, emphasizing dramatic, often strained effect and typified by bold, curving forms, elaborate ornamentation, and overall balance of disparate parts.
Bars/ Coal Bars
Also known as the Fret. The bars at the front of the grate that retain the fuel, can be either horizontal or vertical.
A portable fire grate often including self-contained ash pan.
Blind Fret Detail
Applied fretwork as opposed to pierced or open fretwork, these are an intricate form of decoration often based on Chinoiserie and Gothic designs. See Adam.
A molding that projects from the surface of a panel.
The thin lines at the edges of veneered panels the indicate the border.
The forward projection of the frieze on the mantel's centre
Also known as a class (1) flue, it can be identified by the two alcoves on either side of the chimney breast in your room. On your roof will be a traditional chimney stack which relies on the natural circulation of air through the room and chimney to expel the combustion gases of the appliance.
Rounded column head motifs often seen in lieau of classical capitals. Concentric rings often shown on a plain tablet linking the horizontal entablature and and vertical jambs.
A form of furniture leg that curves outward and then narrows downward into an ornamental foot, characteristic of Queen Anne and Chippendale furniture. A subset of the cyma curve (Hogarth curve) - in effect an elongated S shape. Here we see cabriole style jambs on a French fireplace.
The head or uppermost member of a classical column, pilaster, etc. It consists generally of three parts, abacus, bell (or vase), and necking. Here we see the capital of a composite column having both the Ionic volutes double scroll and the Corinthian acanthus leaves between the upper abacus and lower necking.
Protruding hood, particularly seen on Victorian register grates, also called the hood.
Having turrets or battlement details as found on a castle. Appears here as a series of block detail on an ornate Georgian fireplace mantel.
Bevelled or sloped at an angle to the main surfaces, usually on edgework and corners.
Side panels (often decorative) on the Hobgrate
Chimneypiece or mantelpiece is now the general term for the jambs, mantelshelf and external accessories of a fireplace. For many centuries the chimneypiece was the most ornamental and most artistic feature of a room, but as fireplaces have become smaller, and modern methods of heating have been introduced, its artistic as well as its practical significance has grown less.
Columns - Classical Order of
The ordering of classical columns (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Composite and Tuscan) can be ascribed to the 16th century Italian stone mason Andrea Palladio (Palladian architecture) in his work I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura.
A projection, usually found on the jambs that supports the mantelshelf. Corbels are synonymous with Victorian fireplaces but are of classical origin.
The Corinthian column can be distinguished by the use of entasis to straighten the appearance of the shaft. Like the Ionic column the Corinthian order has twenty-four flutes representing the pleats of a maiden's dress, and incorporates the same style of base representing her feet. The campanulate capital of the Corinthian column is topped with the abacus below which one finds the ornate acanthus leaf 'bell' representing a 'death wreath' of a young girl. The Greek legend has the girl's nanny placing a wicker toy basket upon her coffin to take into the afterlife. An Acanthus plant is said to have grown intertwined in the basket, giving the Corinthians their symbolic imagery combining love, death and chance.
An ornamental horizontal molding usually associated with the uppermost part of an entablature seen here above the dentil work at the top of the image (right).
Moulding or detail resembling Castellated moulding, i.e. having 'turrets' or 'battlements' details like a castle. Dentil moulding therefore looks like a line of small blockwork as shown (right).
Intricate stonework or woodwork carved to provide relief or a motif to a chimneypiece or fireplace. Here we see a floral roundel detail design to be found on classic regency fireplaces and mantels.
The Doric column is the simplest of the Grecian column orders. The column has twenty vertical flutes representing the pleats of a maiden's dress. The capital of the Doric column consists of the abacus, echinus and necking. The column has no distinct foot as found on other column orders. The column height to width ratio is determined from observations of the ratio in man between the size of the foot and height - a ratio of six-to-one. This ratio and other distinguishing features of each order of columns are recorded for the Modern period through the work of Andrea Palladio in his work I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura. His work gave rise to the Palladian architects such Inigo Jones and later Robert Adam who so influenced interior design and features.
Egg & dart moulding
Egg and Dart moulding as the name suggests is formed by continuous strips of egg shaped details separated by vertical darts as can be seen (right). These cornice mould patterns are used on fireplaces styled after classical examples that see the egg and dart appear in the architrave of buildings.
The upper horizontal section of the mantel or fireplace in neo-classical designs that joins together the vertical jambs or pilasters. The entablature consists of the frieze, cornice and sometimes if present the architrave.
Earthenware decorated with colourful opaque glazes often found on the fascia of Victorian and Edwardian fireplaces.
As the name suggest the feet are the to be found at the base of the jambs. They are often styled in the fashion of classical column bases as shown here (right) with pilasters above reproducing the grecian or romanesque look.
The often ornamental area between the mantel and the fire. Sometimes called the backboard (usually when drab or plain).
The fascia acts as a frame to the fire and it often has a tone to contrast with the mantel. The fascia shown here (right) is of black tiles with an art deco border and is juxtaposed against the natural oak of the mantel and brass of the fire.
A metal plate, usually iron that protects the tiled or brick back wall of open fires. It is also designed to reflect and radiate heat back into the room rather than be lost up the chimney.
The metal frame or cage in which the fire is housed. Usually constructed it iron and blackened for durability to obscure any fouling or wear. Fire baskets can eventually 'burn through' after years of use so they should be checked every year or so to assess their condition. In effect a portable firegrate.
Another name for the grate (see below).
Any design, detail or relief that is relating to, or suggestive of a flower.
A chimney, duct or pipe for conveying hot air and smoke away to the exterior of the building. The class 1 flue is rated for all fuel types and typically can be described as a full chimney. The class 2 flue is rated for gas fires and is typically a pre-fabricated 5-inch flue. The third type of flue, the pre cast flue, can often be detected by a ventilation ridge tile on the building roof and is suitable for some types of fires. All fire installations require a proper survey to assess whether the flue is suitable and sound for the desired fire installation. Also see Pre-cast Flue.
A long, usually rounded groove incised as a decorative motif on the shaft of a pilaster, jambs or entablature, for example.
Any design, detail or relief that is relating to, or suggestive of a leaves.
On fires the fret refers to the decorative front covering of the grate, and this is often a free-standing piece in its own right. The term is also used in reference to fireplace relief instead of key pattern, meaning the use of an ornamental design consisting of repeated and symmetrical geometric figures, contained within a band or border.
The decorative horizontal strip of across the mantel that joins the jambs, also called the entablature. This is often the same width as the jambs.
A reproduction of burning coal or wood, or the use of special fire briquettes, stones and pebbles etc through which a gas fire burns, created for realistic flame effect, in the case of gas or electric fires.
In open log and coal fires the fuel bed is simply the contents of the fires:- coal, logs, kindling etc.
George I (r. 1714-27), George II (r. 1727-60), George III (r. 1760-1820), George IV (r. 1820-30)
This period of British history witnessed a revival of the neo-classical style and a refinement in tastes and geometric grace in architecture and interior design. Georgian fireplaces are characterised by their neo-classical columned jambs and pilasters, Grecian and Romanesque motifs, bullseyes and entablatures.
This is the entire metal heart of the fire. It comprises of the fire basket, ash pan, and in the case of the register grate which is cast out of a single piece of iron, the angled cheeks, and the fireback.
As their name suggests half-columns are semi circular columns bisected to lie flat against the wall. When used they usually form the fireplace jambs.
A semi circular beading used in decorative relief patterning. It is often used in borders of the entablature and mantel edgework.
A projection of fire resistant material in front of the fire grate intended to catch any sparks, ash or burning debris from the fire. The hearth typically is made of stone, metal or ceramics.
The amount of heat energy, in kilowatts (kW), that the fire will produce to warm the room.
Earlier form of grate, the first to be built-in rather than a freestanding fire basket, with flat plates (hobs) that were designed for cooking on.
The flat plates on either side of the hobgrate for cooking on.
The lazy S or cyma curve that one sees so distinctly in the cabriole legs of Queen Anne furniture and the jambs of French Rococo fireplaces.
The protruding canopy, particularly seen on Victorian register grates, also called the canopy. It is designed to catch the fire's smoke more effectively protecting the mantel piece.
A nook or corner beside an open fireplace, usually either of two benches, placed in the sidewalls of the fireplace facing the fire.
Inset or Insert
A fireplace containing the fire opening that is then surrounded the mantel. Often the inset will be decorative metalwork, ceramics or stonework designed to frame the fire and juxtapose with the mantel.
The Ionic column order features a characteristic capital symbolizing the ringlets of a maiden's hair that manifests itself as double-scrolled volutes - often misinterpreted as a rams head. The volutes scroll sits between the abacus and the necking to form the entire capital. The Ionic column usually has twenty-four vertical flutes that represent the pleats of the maiden's dress. The column foot follows the same theme and symbolizes the maiden's feet. Like the Doric column the column's width to height ration is one-to-six matching the ratio of human physiology between the foot length and body height.
Strictly speaking of or relating to the reign of James I (r. 1603 - 1625) (James VI of Scotland r. 1567 - 1625) or his times, but widely used in historical term to mean the reign of the Stuart kings from 1603 -1688.
The legs of the fireplace surround, flanking the grate often styled as columns or pilasters.
French designer of Art Nouveau jewellery and glassware noted particularly for his unique glass designs.
A horizontal structural member, such as a beam or stone, that spans the fireplace opening. Often found on larger fireplaces such as inglenooks.
The fire surround or fireplace.
The shelf that crowns the top of a fireplace or mantel.
Another name for the mantelpiece - i.e. the top shelf of the fireplace or mantel.
Having a quality or appearance resembling Moor artwork and architecture as seen in North West Afria (Morocco).
Morris, William (1834-96)
A British craftsman, designer, writer, typographer and founder of the Arts and Crafts movement.
A repeated decorative figure or design.
This was an architectural style which attempted to emulate Grecian and Romanesque building design and principles. It used exacting relationships in proportions and geometry, employing greater simplicity, and reducing ornate decoration in contrast to the excesses of Baroque and Rococo. See (Palladian). It has left a legacy of some of the most elegant and bold buildings to be found in the architectural landscape. Examples - St Paul's Cathedral, The Bank of England, Banqueting House. Here (right) we see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
The rivival of medieval or gothic type features within architecture and interior design. Examples of use are acute pointed arches (the Gothic arch) and rib vaulting and extensive use of stonework.
A decorative structure or an ornamental panel situated above a mantelpiece. These have largely been replaced with other decorative features such as mirrors.
Palladianism is, loosely, a philosophy of design based on the writings and work of Andreas Palladio, an Italian architect of the 16th century who tried to recreate the style and proportions of the buildings of ancient Rome. Proponents include Inigo Jones (Queens House Greenwich, The Piazza Covent Garden) and William Benson (Wilbury Park, Wilts).
A triangular element, similar to or derivative of a Grecian pediment, used widely in architecture and decoration.
A rectangular column with a capital and base, projecting only slightly from the jambs as an ornamental motif.
Properties that do not have a chimney may have a pre-cast flue. These are normally rectangular and run up through the centre of the cavity wall. They are identified by the ridge vent on the top of the roof. In your home you are likely to have a flat wall instead of the alcoves of a traditional chimney.
Also known as a class (2) flue, it it normally constructed from metal ducting as a metal flue protruding from the top of the roof. Expect your room to have a flat wall. This type of flue will accept slimline gas fires.
Refering to the early to mid-18th century furniture and interior style. Chief proponenets include British cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779) noted for his graceful neo-classical furniture, particularly chairs, which had a wide influence on his contemporary artisans.
Depth of the aperture into which a fire or fireplace must be set to lie flush to the wall.
Strictly speaking from 1811-1820 following the Regency Act 1811 when George III's eldest son, George, Prince of Wales, became George, Prince Regent and ruled in the King's place. Regency is often used to losely describe the style in British fashion and design from the 1790's to 1837 when Victoria took the thrown.
A later design, usually cast out of a single piece of iron and more efficient than the hobgrate as a moveable plate at the base of the flue allowed control of the air flow, so called because it was a registered (patented) innovation.
Artistic detail featuring a projection of sculpture consisting of shapes carved on a surface so as to stand out from the surrounding background (also called relievo).
Modern fires and fireplaces made to look and feel like genuine antique or period piece.
The rococo system of scroll ornament, based in part on the forms of shells and water-worn rocks.
A style of art, especially architecture and decorative art, that originated in France in the early 18th century and is marked by elaborate ornamentation, as with a profusion of scrolls, foliage, and animal forms.
Round or circular motifs such as bullseyes or rosettes.
A decorative structure or an ornamental panel situated above a mantelpiece. These have largely been replaced with other decorative features such as mirrors.
End section of the mantelpiece that drops down to the outside return.
Slimline or multi-flue
Refers to a gas fire that can be used with a brick, prefabricated or pre-cast flue. Your CORGI fitter may recommend installing a flue with a gas fire.
A carving or plaster moulding of ornamental drapery or curtain draped in a curve between two points.
With three leaves.
Shallow pointed arch.
The period covering the reign of the Tudor family monarchs in England from 1485 to 1603. Architecturally the early Tudor period is often referred to as late medieval whilst the Tudor and Jacobean periods were amalgamated into the "Jacobethan" revival architectural style of the 19th and 20th Centuries, based on the main elements of the English renaissance building design and interiors. The Tudor style sees shallow pointed arches, lighter stone trims, terra-cotta brickwork and tiles in its interiors.
Tuscan columns are Roman, rather than Grecian, and have the simplest detailing of any of the column orders. The capitals are plain as on the Doric column with simple abacus, echinus and necking features. The shaft is not fluted, but rather it is smooth without any decoration and therefore is easily identified.