Cymon and Iphigenia
These figures portray Cymon and his beloved, Iphigenia. In 1700, John Dryden published their story as a poem in his Fables, Ancient and Modern. The tale has ancient roots for Cymon is the hero of The Decameron, a novella by Giovanni Boccaccio written in around 1350. The narrative tells that Cymon’s aristocratic father considers him a dolt and sends him to live and work with his slaves in the countryside. In this environment, Cymon becomes increasingly coarse. One day, he comes upon highborn Iphigenia, slumbering in a field. He is so smitten by her beauty that his noble bearing surfaces, and his father reinstates him. Iphigenia is promised to another, but this tale of wars and abduction in the name of love ends happily with Cymon and Iphigenia united for life.
Ralph Wood introduced these figure models into the Potteries in the 1780s. Shortly after, Ralph Wedgwood, a plagiarist extraordinaire, copied them, apparently using the same molds. This pair, titled SIMON and IPHIGENIA in a manner that is typical of Wedgwood, was made circa 1795. The figures have an impressive presence, with Simon standing 9.5 inches tall.
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.