"Saint Florian" Engine Panel Painting

In the nineteenth century, volunteer fire companies often commissioned paintings to decorate their hand-pumped fire engines for parades, competitions, and community events. Sometimes framed with elaborate carvings, they adorned the tall air chamber located at the middle or rear of a pumper. The paintings would often feature patriotic, heroic, or allegorical images to associate the volunteer companies with these lofty ideals.
The knight pictured is Saint Florian, who is associated with protection from the destructive forces of fire and water. Florian was a Roman guard under Emperor Diocletian who converted to Christianity. He was drowned when he refused to follow the order to persecute fellow Christians. The painting depicts Florian in his Roman garb putting out a fire with a single bucket of water, a common motif in depictions of the saint.
Currently not on view
Object Name
painting, engine panel
date made
19th century
Physical Description
tin (overall material)
oil paint (image material)
overall: 25 in x 27 7/8 in; 63.5 cm x 70.8025 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Cultures & Communities
Engine Panel Paintings
Firefighting Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.