Figure of the month

John Carmel Heenan and Tom Sayers

February 2020

Heenan (1835-1873) was born in New York and Sayers (1826-1865) was born in Pimlico London. Both were accomplished knuckle fighters. They fought on 17th April 1860 at Farnborough, England, attended by over 12000 people. Sayers was a middleweight and at 10 stone 10 pounds (150 pounds) and 5 feet 8 inches, was nearly 3 stone (42 pounds) lighter and 6 inches shorter than Heenan. Even with this disadvantage Sayers fought well, but dislocated his right arm in the fourth round and so continued the next 33 rounds only using his left.

With good footwork and a great deal of courage, Sayers saw through the 37 rounds lasting over two hours, earning a very deserving draw. After the match, Sayers refused Heenan’s challenge of a rematch and went into retirement.  

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. 


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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