Late 18th Century Wrought Iron Down-hearth Grisset
Late 18th Century Wrought Iron Down-hearth Grisset

Late 18th Century Wrought Iron Down-hearth Grisset

c. 1780 Wales

Offered by Thomas Coulborn & Sons


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The pan of oval form with pointed, notched ends and raised on a pair of scrolling feet, the long side of the pan issuing a long rectangular-section broadening handle supported by a peg and terminating in a hook forming a hanging loop.

Grissets are vessels, manufactured from cast or wrought iron, with the purpose of catching the drips of animal and bird fat whilst roasting on an open fire. This fat (tallow) could then be used for basting the meat during the cooking process, the residue being kept for making tallow candles or rushlights. In order to prepare the rushlights, the tallow had to be kept in liquid form. The purpose of the grisset’s long handle is to allow the pan to be adjusted at the edge of the fire, without setting the melted tallow on fire. A part-peeled rush could then be drawn through the liquid, coating the pith, and then cooled to form a rushlight. Without a handle this operation is not impossible without burning the hand or firing the tallow. The Welsh name for a grisset is ‘padellfach’ meaning ‘little pan’ and ‘padell iraid’ meaning ‘grease pan’.
Bibliography: John Caspall, 'Making Fire & Light in the home pre-1820' (Antique Collectors’ Club, 2000), p. 201, Figure 466, illustrates a rectangular example with the same form of hanging loop and supportive peg, and dates it between the late-18th and the mid-19th century.

Robert Ashley, 'The Rushlight and Related Holders: A Regional View' (Ashley Publications, 2001), pp. 236 - 238 illustrates a variety of different grisset forms. He notes that the 'boat-shaped' grisset was common in Wales and that the Welsh grissets were typically of wrought iron.
Height 5.00 cm (1.97 inches)
Width 42.50 cm (16.73 inches)
Depth 52.00 cm (20.47 inches)
Stock Code
Wrought Iron
Thomas Coulborn & Sons

Thomas Coulborn & Sons
Vesey Manor
64 Birmingham Road
Sutton Coldfield
West Midlands
B72 1QP

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