Antique cast brass footman or hearth trivet. This very fine example with rectangular top and acorn finials, a pair of turned side carrying handles, dummy drawers and a pierced fretwork frieze over bold cabriole front legs and with turned legs to the rear.
English, circa 1820 - 1850
Brass Trivet or Footman
The trivet has been a cooking aid and used in kitchens and parlours over several centuries. A low stand made of iron before the 17th century, it was placed over the fire to hold the cooking pot. Used thus, it usually had three legs in order to provide the most stability. Gradually, as the fireplace in the parlour or kitchen became larger, the trivet became more elaborate, made from iron, polished steel or brass, with three or four legs and often made to resemble furniture styles of the day. The four-legged trivet eventually found a place by the open fire in the dining room as a muffin or hot kettle stand, dish warmer or utensil holder and then became known as a‘ footman’, no doubt because it assumed the role normally taken by a servant or footman. Usually oblong or rectangular in shape, the legs were generally long enough to allow the footman to stand over the fender once placed in front of the fire