Figure of the month

Cymon and Iphigenia

February 2019

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

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

July 2024

This is a rare Staffordshire figure of a woman seated on a couch, with her dog beside her.  It is generally believed to represent Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and her dog Flush. This figure stands about 5 ¼” tall and dates to approximately 1846-1850.

A pair of camels

June 2024

This is an interesting pair of Staffordshire camels, each about 6 1/4” tall, and dating to approximately 1860. 

Prophet Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath

May 2024

This is a fine pair of early Staffordshire figures of Elijah, the Old Testament prophet, and the Widow of Zarephath. This pair of figures is attributed to Obadiah Sherratt, the table bases, bocage, and flowers being typical of Sherratt.   

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. 

Artabanes

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.

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