Figure of the month


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.

Artaxerxes was an opera by Thomas Arne, originally performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, in 1762.  It continued through the late 1830s. There is some uncertainty regarding who the actor was in the 1830s, therefore whom our Figure of the Month represents.  Anthony Oliver, in his book “Staffordshire Pottery, the Tribal Art of England”, page 118, shows a similar figure and speculates that the actor may have been “Mr. Wood”.  Harding in his “Victorian Staffordshire Figures, Book One”, page 336, shows a similar figure and suggests the actor was either “Mr. Wood or Mr. Sinclair”.  In the ”Second Addendum of Victorian Staffordshire Figures”, page 91, Harding shows another similar figure without referencing the actual actor.  Pugh shows yet another similar figure on page 447 of his “Staffordshire Portrait Figures”, referring to it as a “Male Middle Eastern Musician”, without reference to the actor. Interestingly, all of the recorded figures differ substantially from our figure of the month, and some of these figures have an impressed mark “Lloyd Shelton”.   

J & S Mottashed Collection

More Figures of the month

Boys playing cricket

April 2024

This is a pair of Staffordshire figures of unidentified boys playing cricket, standing 6 ½” and 6 ¾” tall, dating to around 1850. 

Tom King and Dick Turpin

March 2024

This is a fine pair of Staffordshire figures of Tom King and Dick Turpin, probably originating from a theatrical production.  Note the four separately moulded legs on each horse. 

Napoleon III with Prince Albert

January 2024

This is a figure of Napoleon III with Prince Albert, each with a drum on the ground and to the side.  The figure stands 10 ¾” and dates to about 1854.

A pair of clowns

December 2023

This is a fine pair of Staffordshire clowns, both standing 6 ½” tall, dating to circa 1860.  Each is wearing pantaloons, with the figure on the left holding a cane. 

Scottish hunter

November 2023

This is an interesting example of a Scottish hunter, wearing kilt and underglaze blue coat, with a dog at his knee and a rifle resting near his right hand.  The figure stands 14 ¼” tall and dates to about 1860.

A pair of Bullmastiffs

October 2023

This is a pair of recumbent Bullmastiff dogs, approximately 6” tall, dating to around 1850-1860. This English breed was developed as a guard dog in the nineteenth century and is also known as the Gamekeeper’s Night Dog.


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.