Coursing, the pursuit of hares by greyhounds, was a very popular Victorian sport. The whippet is a smaller dog but very similar in type to a greyhound and would have been kept by many country folks. They would have been used to pursue rabbits as in these figures. The prey is indeed rabbit, as rabbits have smaller ears than hares.
These fine figures show whippets chasing rabbits. The dogs are leaping a fence with a stream below.
They are 11 inches tall. See Harding, Victorian Staffordshire Dogs page 86, figs 2661/2662.
More Figures of the month
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.
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.
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.
This is a rare figure of Prince Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, second child and eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. He stands with his right hand resting on the head of a brown and white dog, and his left hand on the barrel of a rifle.
This is a rare Crimean War figure representing two naval gunners with a cannon. One sailor stands upright with his right foot on the cannon, and his right hand to his head as if saluting. The second sailor is kneeling while priming the cannon.
This is a rare pair of Staffordshire figures representing two of the four seasons, Winter and Summer. Each figure stands a little over 6 ½” tall and dates to around 1850 – 1860.