Figure of the month


Courtesy Nick Burton English Pottery
April 2022

Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian soldier and patriot who helped unify Italy. In 1864, he visited England and was welcomed with great enthusiasm. Garibaldi and his “red shirts” were heroes in the story of Italian independence, and at least 16 different figures of him were produced by Staffordshire potters.

This figure is 8.5 inches high and can be found in Pugh page C295, plate 98, figure 285.

Courtesy Nick Burton English Pottery

Garibaldi takes the biscuit

Garibaldi received a rapturous reception in England in April 1864. It is said that never before in history had there been such a large spontaneous gathering as the one that cheered him through the streets of London. Aristocrats and politicians vied for the opportunity to host and dine with him, whilst the middle and working classes expressed their admiration for the General by adorning their walls and mantelpieces with his image.

As well as the Staffordshire figures, Garibaldi also appeared on plates, cups and tankards and his name was adopted by pubs and taverns across the country.

But perhaps the most English of accolades was made by a Bermondsey biscuit company, who created the Garibaldi biscuit, a sort of currant sandwich made of sweet pastry. 150 years later and you will still find the Garibaldi being dunked into cups of tea, though it continues to be much loathed by children, who rechristened it ‘the squashed fly biscuit’.

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. 


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.

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.


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