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Style Other / Ref.9631

Cast iron fire back with Two Headed Eagle

Width: 33'' ⅞  86cm
Height: 31'' ½  80cm
Depth: 1'' ⅛  3cm

18th century

Particularly ornate fireback from the 18th century. A double-headed eagle with open wings dominates the composition. The two-headed eagle is a common symbol in heraldry. First used as the emblem of the Byzantine Palaiologos family, it was since adopted by several European cities and countries including Russia. The eagle bears a coat of arms on its chest, which is crowned, quarterly squirrel and chevronny. This is the shield of the family Fouquet de Belle-Isle from Britanny, that died out in 1761 with Charles-Louis-Auguste Fouquet, Marshal of Belle-Isle.

Charles-Louis-Auguste Fouchet, Maréchal-Duc of Belle-Isle was born Septembre 22, 1684 in Villefranche en-Rouergue. In March 1718, he rose to the rank of maréchal de camp, mestre de camp général des dragons and became lieutenant-general in 1731. The King made him governor of the three important fortresses of Metz, Toul and Verdun in 1733 - an office which he kept until his death and was made Chevalier des Ordres du Roi in 1735. One of the principal advisers of the government in military and diplomatic affairs, he was sent to Germany as French plenipotentiary to optain, in the interests of France, the election of Charles, Elector of Bavaria as emperor. In 1741 he became Marshal of France and duke of Gisors. He became a knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Frankfort in 1743 and was nominated Prince of the Holy-Empire, lieutenant-general for the government of Lorraine in 1744 by Stanislas of Poland, became peer of France in 1748. In 1749, he was elected to the French Academy. In 1756, he became commander of the coast from Dunkerque to Bayonne. He entered the private council in 1757 and became secretary for war in 1758. He died in Versailles, in 1761, at the age of 71 with no heir. The fireback is 1''1/4 thick.

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