The good student and the dunce
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
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.
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.
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.
This is a very rare and desirable titled Staffordshire figure of FitzRoy James Henry Somerset Raglan, aka Field Marshal Lord Raglan. The figure stands a little over 13” tall and dates to around 1854.
This is a rare pair of seated cats, approximately 13 ½” tall. They are decorated in bright gold and date to around 1870-1880. Harding Book Two illustrates this impressive pair on page 239.
This is a rare figure of a tiger and lion lying in front of a palm tree. Circus acts with wild animals became very popular in England during the 1830s and it is possible that this figure as well as other animal figures commemorated these events.