Figure of the month

​William Smith O’Brien

​Courtesy Nick Burton English Pottery
September 2020

O’Brien (1803-1864) was an Irish nationalist. He entered parliament in 1826 and made repeated efforts to improve poor relief and education in Ireland. In October, 1843 he joined O’Connells Repeal Association. In 1848 he led an abortive insurrection which ended ludicrously in a virtually bloodless battle in a cabbage garden in Ballingarry.

He was arrested on a charge of high treason and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. His sentence was later commuted to transportation for life and he was sent to Maria Island, Tasmania. He was granted a full pardon in 1856 provided he did not return to Ireland. He died in Bangor, North Wales in 1864.

This figure is 7 inches high, circa 1848. 

​Courtesy Nick Burton English Pottery

More Figures of the month


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.

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.


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