Figure of the month

Giaffier and Zuleika

Courtesy Richard Gardner Antiques
March 2022

This figure portrays a highlight in Act I Scene 3 of William Dimond’s dramatised version of Byron’s poem “The Bride of Abydos”.  Mr Barton and Miss Rosa Henry are the actors, and the production was probably that at Astley’s Ampitheatre in London, in April 1847.

The figure is circa 1847 and 12.75 inches high and can be found in Pugh, page E379, figure 60.

Courtesy Richard Gardner Antiques

Who were Giaffier and Zuleika?

In Byron’s poem, Giaffier was a cruel and ruthless ruler in Turkey. His beautiful daughter Zuleika falls in love with Selim, a man adopted by her father as his own son. Selim reveals to Zuleika that his whole family were killed by Giaffier, vowing to revenge them and marry Zuleika. Disguised as a pirate, he ambushes Giaffier but is attacked by the ruler’s men. Selim tries to reach Zuleika, who is waiting for him in a secret location, but he dies on the beach, the fatal blow struck by Giaffier himself. When she hears of this, Zuleika dies of sorrow, leaving Giaffier to live out the rest of his life in solitude and unhappiness.

Dimond found Byron’s ending too gloomy and catastrophic so used a different scene from another of Byron’s poems!

More Figures of the month

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.

Prince of Wales

September 2023

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.

Sailors with cannon

August 2023

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. 

Winter and Summer

July 2023

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.


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