Staffordshire Pottery (Part 1): A Brief Overview
Many of my clients ask me about a particular type of figurines that are quite popular in the interior design world…. Staffordshire dogs! Although I have spoken to many antique dealers through the years and have researched these charming pottery pieces on my own, I must admit that I am still not an expert on the topic. So, as I write about Staffordshire pottery this week, I welcome and encourage anyone with further knowledge on this subject to share their insights! I have actually acquired a rather extensive collection of Staffordshire figurines through the years, and I am always fascinated to learn more about them!
Most of us are familiar with the most commonly collected type of charming Staffordshire pottery… King Charles Cavalier Spaniels. Queen Victoria’s adoration for her own King Charles Cavalier Spaniel is what catapulted that particular breed to the top of the list of popular subjects for Staffordshire figurines.
However, some people are not aware that Staffordshire figurines also include other breeds of dogs (poodles, greyhounds, pointers, pugs, etc.), various other animals (such as sheep, zebra, cows, etc.), buildings, and my absolute favorites…. famous historical people. Although the latter comprises most of my personal collection, I am honestly not entirely sure who all of the famous people are that some of my pieces represent? Any educated guesses from you history buffs out there? Take a look below!
The name “Staffordshire” actually refers to the English county, comprising six distinct towns, collectively known as “The Potteries”. The earliest pieces were produced through a process of pressing clay into two molds, joining the two pieces together, then painting and firing them in the kiln. Although these primitive figurines look very different from the pieces we are used to seeing today, they are rare treasures among collectors and come with very expensive price tags.
Coveted for their lovely detailing and rich colors, figurines produced during the late 18th century were skillfully crafted by talented potters. However, most of the pieces collected today were produced in factories during the mid-and-late 19th century. It was surprising to me when I first learned that many of these beloved collectibles were actually painted in very quick fashion by unskilled women and children! In doing so, the cost of the figurines remained relatively reasonable, thereby making them accessible to the middle class. In fact, these figurines were not generally purchased by upper class or royalty, but rather enjoyed as mantle adornments by families of lesser incomes. INTERESTING!
NOW,GO HAVE AN “It’s So Fabulous!” DAY!