The Federation or Edwardian ﬁreplace
Table of Contents
The Federation or Edwardian ﬁreplace
Buyers warm up to homes with fireplaces
Fireplaces: rising from the ashes
Traditional versus trendy
Edwardian & Federation Tiled Inserts
Mantels and Hearths
The Decorative Hearth
Wooden Victorian Fire Surrounds
- See also Cosy Federation Interiors
“A wonderfully warm fireplace makes our time so enjoyable, so welcoming.”
The Federation or Edwardian ﬁreplace rejected Victorian values and practices. As the Federation house expressed a desire for informality, ﬁreplaces were often moved to the corner of a room, or situated in cosy nooks and bays.
|611 Blaxland Road Eastwood NSW|
The ﬁreside inglenook created an informal area for reading and conversation.
Although Edward VII reigned from 1901-1910 the style known as Edwardian covers the period from around 1900 to 1920, after the end of the first World War.
- It is considered an age of elegance typified by the luxury and opulence of the Titanic.- from The comfort of Hearth and Home
- At the start of the Edwardian Era most fireplaces would still have been composed of a cast iron frame incorporating tilesets on sliders on either side, usually with a painted mantlepiece made from slate, pine or deal.
- Mahogany and oak mantlepieces were still popular but were never painted.
43 Rangers Road Cremorne
- After World War 1, taller mantles incorporating mirrors were an innovation of the period and both cast, copper and tiled inserts were put in them.
- Marble mantles were still popular in grander homes but generally were on the wane.
Reﬂecting Arts and Crafts values of integrity of use of material,timber was favoured over marble and marbled timber.
- Woodwork was treated in a straight forward manner:
- painted a monochrome colour, often white,
- or waxed to enhance the natural appearance,
- or stained or ‘fumed’ to a darker colour in preference to French polishing.
Timber mantelpieces were shaped or carved, the more elaborate in drawing and dining rooms with
- overmantels with bevelled-edge mirrors,
- turned or reeded legs, and small cabinets with leadlight or copper detailing.
- Simple mantelpieces in more modest homes or those seeking to express humbler values, used plainer shaped brackets supporting the mantelshelf and detailing.
The Art Nouveau inﬂuence became stronger after the turn of the century, expressed in the characteristic majolica glazed tiles using “tube lining” for the sinuous designs and vibrant colours.
|35 Middle Harbour Road LINDFIELD|
- Hearths were usually tiled and continued to be ﬂush with the ﬂoor with mitred corners.
- The cast iron insert, generally square with a hood and tiled cheeks, also was used for Art Nouveau detailing.
- Emerging nationalism could be seen in the use of Australiana motifs
Edwardian Style Tiled Fireplaces
- Inglenooks originated as a partially enclosed hearth area, appended to a larger room.
- With changes in building design, kitchens became separate rooms, while inglenooks were retained in the living space as intimate warming places, subsidiary spaces within larger rooms.
Above: Inglenook at ‘Redruth’ 20 Knutsford Street, Balwyn Vic
The corner fireplace is said to have been invented by Sir Christopher Wren, the famous British architect of St Paul’s Cathedral and of 51 other churches of London. 
- Corner fireplaces were said to have been a feature of Wren’s domestic work. They consequently became a fashion at the time.
- By 1700 the corner fireplace was used in great houses and taverns across Britain and America
- They were introduced into Australian Federation houses after 1900 chiefly to save space, and to allow massing of the chimney stacks.
- However, the angling of the side walls also has the beneficial effect of radiating more heat into the room.
- In Australian Federation homes, corner fireplaces are a feature of the smaller, builder-designed homes, not the large houses, and were frequently installed in bedrooms.
- The introduction of gas heatingin the 1930s, and finally of central heating made the fireplace an anachronism.
– – Thursday, September 27, 2012
Look at the statistics. Even if it’s used only minimally, a fireplace in a home makes sense.
“To be able to say ‘wood-burning fireplace’ or ‘gas fireplace’ in the listing is high-impact,” he said. “You also want to be sure to have fireplace shots in any videos or brochures.”
Fireplaces are making a comeback, adding romance, grandeur or a modern edge to a room. And they can make or break a sale, says Christopher Middleton. 21 Dec 2012
Turn the clock back fifty years and the traditional fireplace looked like a thing of the past. Central heating had taken over as a source of warmth. Thick plumes of grey smoke seemed incompatible with shiny modern Britain. Across the country fireplaces were being boarded up, plastered over or thrown into skips.
A fine marble surround or contemporary wood-burning stove can not only clinch a sale, but add thousands to a property’s value.
“The fireplace has made a real comeback,” saysDawn Carritt, a historic home expert and director of Jackson-Stops & Staff.“There was a period in the second half of the 20th century when it was thought to have become irrelevant. This was in part because of the introduction of smokeless zones and fewer domestic staff to remove the ashes from the grate.”So what has rekindled our affection? Why do we now see it not as a waste of space, but a must-have feature?
“Whenever we ask prospective country house buyers what they want more than anything else, the reply is always the same: ‘We must have a fireplace,’” says Carritt.
Although most of us love nothing more than curling up in front of a crackling open fire, we don’t relish the thought of smoke-filled rooms, chopping wood or piles of ash. Here are some tips for keeping your fireplace both functional and fashionable in winter.
Go green! Is the current motto enveloping today’s lifestyles. While many of us keep an eye on style, we are also trying to reduce our carbon footprint, lower greenhouse gas emissions and save money. So should you keep stoking the old open fire or are there greener ways to heat up your home?
If you want to work with what you have rather than starting from scratch it is important to know that up to 90 per cent of heat from open fireplaces disappears up the chimney. A chimney also provides a virtual freeway for cold air to race back into the living room. If you are determined to stick with the traditional fire, a Federal Government Greenhouse Office report has found to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
For those of you who like the look of a traditional fireplace, but want to increase heating efficiency, a wood or gas unit can fit into an existing fireplace.
Create ambience, add warmth to a home, are generally the most effective at heating large open areas and can be freestanding or inbuilt. Inbuilt units fit directly into your existing fireplace.
Gas heating is suitable for most houses that have access to natural or LPG gas – as a built-in or freestanding unit. A gas unit is generally more expensive to buy than wood, but if you already have a gas outlet, your outlay is less.
If you prefer the look of the traditional burning logs without the hassle of connecting to gas or collecting wood, you could always opt for an electric model. It looks just like a gas or wood fireplace, only without the hassle. Electricity usage increases greenhouse gas emissions, so this is not the best choice for those of you who are going green.
- Square faced with hand painted tiles and then set behind marble or ornate timber mantles, the Edwardian & Federation register added a new level of grandeur to homes built in this ebullient period.
- Made with a cast iron fascia and decorative tiles down each side, Edwardian and Federation grates drew on design ideas from Victoriana, ‘Arts and Craft’ and the burgeoning Art Nouveau style.
|Reproduction Edwardian Tube-lined Tile sets|
All the great information below comes from the Website Victorian Fireplaces UK
- Tile sliders were introduced into cast iron fireplaces at side of the opening from 1860-1880. They allowed 6″ tiles to be slid down at either side of the fireplace opening.
- There is no practical reason for the tiles, they are purely decorative.
- The tiles are slid into the cast iron frame, held in position by pieces of cardboard and then plastered over from the back with bonding plaster.
- Once dry the fireplace itself can be fitted. Once set into the fireplace the tile set cannot easily be changed without removing the fireplace from the wall.
If your fireplace has a mantel then the hearth size can vary.
- The mantel can stand on the hearth or the hearth can sit between the mantel legs or the mantel can have “cut outs”.
- If you have exposed floorboards then the hearth should fully cover the constructional hearth to avoid seeing the concrete.
- If your fireplace has a mantel then the hearth size will vary depending on whether the mantel stands on the hearth or the hearth sits between the mantel legs
The Constructional Hearth
The Constructional Hearth is a flat area of fireproof material (usually concrete) in a wooden floored house that should finish flush with the floorboards around where the fire is to be fitted.
On top of this constructional hearth sits the Decorative Hearth which is what usually refer to as a Hearth. This hearth is usually made from stone, slate or ceramic tiles.
A Standard Size Hearth is 54″ x 15″ x2″ thick
Individual Hearth Tiles are available in various finishes and shapes.
Tiles can be cut to make herringbone patterned or cross bonded hearths
Quarry Tile Hearths
Quarry Tiles are a robust unglazed tile that is hard wearing
Our quarry tile hearths are available in black, terracotta and offwhite and can be made with or without a border
|Edwardian style fender|
|The Scott Fire Basket|
Arts and Crafts Firebaskets tend to be low with simple styling.
|Wooden Victorian Fire Surrounds|
The Mid Victorian period saw the introduction of the breakfront shelf and larger more elongated corbels became common on mantels.
|Wooden Arts and Crafts Fire Surrounds|
Arts and Crafts mantels with a surpisingly contemporary feel.
|Wooden Art Nouveau Fire Surrounds|
Art Nouveau mantels have typical art nouveau sinuous decoration.
|Wooden Edwardian Fire Surrounds|
In the Edwardian Era mantels became much more geometric in design. There was a return to many of the design features of the Georgian style.
|Late Victorian Fireplace Inserts|
At the end of the Victorian era fireplace inserts become more square with more prominent hoods decorated with floral detail. This period saw the introduction of tiles on tile sliders.
|Edwardian Fireplace Inserts|
The fireplace in the Edwardian era are similar to those of the late Victorian period but even more geometric. Plain tiles became popular, matching the hearth.
For these illustrations I thank Edwardian Fireplaces UK
The Arts and Crafts Arch Fireplace Insert
A period recreation of a classic Edwardian tiled arched
fireplace insert with Arts and Crafts detail. The insert complements
a number of our Edwardian style mantles
manufactured at any size if necessary.
The Clarence Arch Fireplace Insert
The Clarence Arch is also available as a fireplace insert.
Most people choose to set this insert with an original mantle
and it can be built to fit almost any of them.
manufactured at any size if necessary.