Figure of the month

The good student and the dunce

November 2019

Alan Sturrock says he has always liked Staffordshire figures which show the simple life so many of the Victorians had, and how very different life at all stages was as compared to today. This figure shows just that. The good student holding a book sits on a chair whilst the dunce stands next to her standing on one leg on a chair, and wears the telltale dunce’s cap to humiliate him in front of the entire class.
As you will appreciate, education was in itself something only a few early Victorian children were lucky enough to experience and the teaching methods were so very different. The humiliation of a student in this way for not learning as quickly as his fellow pupils would have been commonplace in the village schoolroom. Of course these days such treatment is rightly not allowed and so this figure has a cruel charm of its own as being wonderfully politically incorrect.
However in Alan’s schooling days punishments still occurred. He was made to stand in the corner for misbehaving in class, and more serious misdemeanors almost always meant a beating with a cane by the headmaster.

More Figures of the month

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.

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.


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