Fire screen

Ref: 2044
  • Designer / Maker

    The design and manufacture attributed to Peter Waals (1870-1937)

  • Detail

    Walnut, with calligraphic decoration

    76.2 x 63.5 cm

    English (probably Chalford), 1926

  • Signed and dated

    PP [?] 1926, in script at bottom of panel (see right)

  • Notes

    This ‘summer’ fire screen is embellished with a calligraphic rendering of Lady Celia Congreve (1867/68-1952), The Firewood Poem written in or before 1926:

    Beechwood fires are bright and clear
    If the logs are kept a year,
    Chestnut’s only good they say,
    If for logs ’tis laid away.
    Make a fire of Elder tree,
    Death within your house will be;
    But ash new or ash old,
    Is fit for a queen with crown of gold

    Birch and fir logs burn too fast
    Blaze up bright and do not last,
    it is by the Irish said
    Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
    Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
    E’en the very flames are cold
    But ash green or ash brown
    Is fit for a queen with golden crown

    Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
    Fills your eyes and makes you choke,
    Apple wood will scent your room
    Pear wood smells like flowers in bloom
    Oaken logs, if dry and old
    keep away the winter’s cold
    But ash wet or ash dry
    a king shall warm his slippers by.

    This poem was published in the Times, 2 March 1930.