Object Lesson

Fire screen by Shapland & Petter

OBJECT Mahogany and leaded-glass fire screen by Shapland & Petter of Barnstaple, England, for sale at the John Alexander Ltd. gallery in Philadelphia.

HISTORY Created between 1898 and 1905, the screen is rooted in the English Arts and Crafts tradition. According to gallery owner John Levitties, it was produced for Scottish retailer R. Grieve and Company by Shapland & Petter, which also created designs for well-known retailers like Liberty of London.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS "Fire screens are reasonably common in the period," says Levitties. "Typically we find beaten copper in an iron frame or needlework in a wooden frame behind glass. In each of those instances, the fire screen was used to exhibit a piece of artwork. It provides a vehicle for display." But this screen, with floral forms in leaded glass and a mahogany structure, "is odd and quirky," he says, "because it's in glass. It's the material more than anything else that makes this one unusual."

PRICE $3,800.

John Alexander Ltd. $ 10–12 W. Gravers Lane, Philadelphia; 215-242-0741; www.johnalexanderltd.com.

$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than the American Express Card.