A fabulous three part cast iron fireback, one large back wall and two smaller side wall panels, the center depicting a round image of three witches around a cauldron, and each side depicting an oval image of a single witch, one flying and one standing, with miscellaneous skulls, crows, owls, black cats, and serpents. Created by American artist John Whetton Ehninger (1827-1889). Ehninger was born in New York, studied at Columbia University, and then continued his studies in France, Germany and Italy. He returned to New York, becoming a member of the National Academy of Design. He is probably most well known as an genre portrait painter and illustrator, with his illustration work featured in Longfellow’s “Courtship of Miles Standish” and Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”.
This fireback set is in very good overall condition,retaining the surface it had when removed from its original fireplace, with evidence of some creosote and some rust visible on each smaller panel lower corner, as well as slight discoloring on the middle lower panel. The back of the center panel shows some plaster or cement residual from its original installation. The right side panel is incised below the oval image “Copyright 1886 J.W. Ehninger”. “No 104” is embossed on the left side panel (verso), and “No 0104” embossed on the right side panel (verso).
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John Whetton Ehninger Three Piece Cast Iron Fireback “Three Witches” 1886
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