Figure of the month

Artabanes

J & S Mottashed Collection
February 2024

This is a theatrical figure representing an actor in the role of Artabanes, from the opera Artaxerxes. The figure stands 11 3/4” tall, dates to approximately 1830-1840, and is very rare. There is a dagger in his right hand, part of the blade being hidden beneath his sash.  The interior and the edging of his coat are fully lined with ermine.

J & S Mottashed Collection

Dandies and dandizettes: dressed to impress

Win and Pat Hock

In 1836, Scottish philosopher and writer Thomas Carlyle wrote: “A dandy is a clothes-wearing Man, a Man whose trade, office and existence consists in the wearing of Clothes. Every faculty of his soul, spirit, purse, and person is heroically consecrated to this one object, the wearing of Clothes wisely and well: so that the others dress to live, he lives to dress.” Win and Pat Hock celebrate these most stylish of Staffordshire figures.

Ralph Wedgwood, figure maker 1788-98

Pat Halfpenny

On 6 February 1837, the scientist-potter-entrepreneur-designer-inventor Ralph Wedgwood died in London. Pat Halfpenny introduces the man and the significant contribution he made to Burslem’s figure production during a very busy ten years.

The Birth of Jesus Christ

Stephen Duckworth

Despite being a popular subject in Western art, the Staffordshire potters did not produce a nativity scene. Stephen Duckworth offers some alternative Victorian figures for a festive mantelpiece.

Saving for a Rainy Day

John Howard

John Howard celebrates the enduring financial advice of the Reverend John Wesley, born 28 June 1703, a man who travelled 4000 miles a year on horseback, gave over 40,000 sermons and by the end of his life in 1791, was “the best-loved man in England”.

Small is beautiful

Winand (Win) Hock

Winand (Win) Hock lets his “smalls” speak for themselves…

Acting the part: Louisa, Constance, Diana, Diana

Dorothea and Sarah Gillett

Although many of the Staffordshire portrait figures were titled, sometimes the most well-known figures of the time were not attributed, leaving collectors two centuries later to wonder who stands on our living room shelves. Dorothea Gillett considers this question as she looks at three female figures…

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