FEATURES

Ralph Wedgwood, figure maker 1788-98

Group of figures impressed WEDGWOOD. Courtesy BONHAMS, London

Pat Halfpenny

January 2024

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.

Group of figures impressed WEDGWOOD. Courtesy BONHAMS, London

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”.

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…

Sheep – don’t you just love them?

Winand (Win) Hock

In this ode to the humble herbivore, Win Hock reminds us of the sheep’s importance to the history of British economy and social structure.

Look back on our figures of the month

Every month since 2015 we have chosen a Staffordshire figure to feature – it may be unusual, rare, have an interesting story, or might just be one of our favourites.

A profusion and confusion of Napoleons

Alan Jamieson

When historian Alan Jamieson brought home his very first Staffordshire figure, little did he know that Em. Napoleon would lead him on a new voyage of discovery…

At home with The Garrick Club

Michael Duffell

From long-held traditions to ‘salmon and cucumber’ ties, Michael Duffell offers a glimpse into a London theatrical gentlemen’s club inspired by the life of David Garrick, and its very unique Staffordshire figure collection.

With a twinkle in his eye: Harry Ryans (1927-2021)

Stephen Duckworth

Stephen Duckwork remembers Harry Ryans, the son of a Yorkshire coal miner who never lost his accent despite living in London for over 60 years. His personal collection of around 200 Staffordshire figures was distinguished by its focus on rarity, detail, condition and some distinct thematic strengths.

Collecting Staffordshire Figures

Alan Sturrock

A brief illustrated history of Staffordshire pottery, followed by pointers for the eager collector.

Membership

We warmly welcome new members.

Wherever you are in the world, whether you are an experienced collector, a researcher interested in the folk art of England, or just someone who is intrigued by Staffordshire figures, please join us for £45 / $50 per year per household.