Victorian hand painted fire pole screens.See description.

SKU: 6199-10

Price is for te pair.17 wide x 57 hi.

Pole screens

A beautiful addition to any room, decorative pole screens served an important function in the 18th century: The tall thin screens shielded people’s faces from the direct heat of the fire. In the 17th and 18th centuries both men and women wore makeup to hide blemishes. (It was said that before he turned fifty the Prince Regent’s face had turned waxen and copper colored from make up.)  The cosmetic preparation worn to hide small pox was thick, and made up of wax and white lead. The lead was toxic, especially when warmed, and the heat from a fire could be life threatening. A pole screen protected the face from intense heat and prevented the wax from melting and the cosmetics from interacting with the skin.  Pole screens were fitted with sliding panels that could be enlarged or diminished as needed. The earliest panels were made of wicker, but these were replaced with beautiful needlework or embroidered panels that came in many shapes and sizes – oval, heart-shaped, rectangular, etc. By the late 18th century, skin disfiguration caused by plagues was no longer as prevalent as before, and smaller polescreens became more fashionable.

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