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Stove Plate: The Wedding fable (front panel)

Origin: America, Virginia, Frederick County
Overall: 24 x 20 x 1in. (61 x 50.8 x 2.5cm) Weight: 61lb. (27.7kg)
Cast iron
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1969.809.1
Cast iron front panel from a "five plate stove" with heavily molded side edges, lightly molded top and bottom edges and a subdivided live area. Above, flies a pair of angels supporting a three-tined crown. In the central scene, a clergyman wearing a cocked hat and holding a book performs a wedding ceremony in from of the groom and bride, who are holding hands and supporting a triangular object which may be a coin purse. Below, the legend MARLBRO FURNACE 1768, in three lines, appears in a rectangular panel supported by humanoid figures on either side.

Label:Once the front of a "five plate" or "jamb" stove, this plate successfully combines colonial American folk art and early industrial production. These cast iron devices were set into a wall, projecting into a room adjacent to one with a fireplace in it, through which it was fueled and vented. Functioning as a decorative heating device, the front and two side panels were traditionally cast with a wide variety of scenes and legends.

This example was cast at Marlboro Furnace, near Stephens City, Virginia, shortly after Isaac Zane Jr. assumed its operation. With a wedding scene taking place at center, it also carries the label of its maker, along with the date it was made, in typical Germanic fashion. The two side panels which once accompanied this plate were also cast with a scene relating to marriage, represented by another antique in Colonial Williamsburg's collection (32.809.1).