Staffordshire Figures

We all have our favourite things. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens have never been on my list, but custard on fruit pie and warm summer evenings certainly have. If I had to make a list of my favourite things it would be endless and up there near the top would be the early Staffordshire figure. What an absolute joy those figures are.

The production of Staffordshire figures began during the reign of George lll in about 1780. The early figures are much better quality than their Victorian cousins and so always command a much higher price. By the early Victorian period the figures were so popular that corners had to be cut and production techniques altered to increase output. Demand remained high until the end of the 19th century.

To produce a model a skilled designer sculpted an original. From this a mould was made and this would produce about 200 models. The older the mould the more worn the details on the model became and this affects the price paid by collectors today. Quality from one factory to another can differ greatly. The flatback figure (with no detailing or painting on the back) was the result of even further cutbacks.

Staffordshire figures provide a social history of the period. They cover every type of person from the notorious rogue to the Royal family, celebrities, fictional characters, military heroes, sportsmen, and politicians.

One of the most popular models were dogs and in particular the seated King Charles spaniel. No Victorian parlour was complete without a pair of these comforter dogs by the fire. They are mainly white with painted features and of varying sizes.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Staffordshire Figures

I am afraid to say that on any matter which is not work related it is very rare for anyone to take any notice whatsoever of anything I say.

My opinion on food is rarely sought and when it is, it is usually ignored. It was with a mixture of delight and trepidation therefore that I dealt with a recent phone call relating to an article I had
written which mentioned a local eatery in glowing terms. The lady calling was celebrating a landmark birthday and searching for an appropriate venue to stage the exciting event. I divulged the location of the restaurant.

To have someone act on my culinary advice began to cause me no small degree of pressure and anxiety. So much so that I booked my wife and myself in for another meal to be certain I was indeed right to praise the restaurant. We went and I was and while there my opinion was sought on Staffordshire figures.

The production of Staffordshire figures began during the reign of George lll in about 1780. The early figures are much better quality than their Victorian cousins and so always command a much higher price. By the early Victorian period the figures were so popular that corners had to be cut and production techniques altered to increase output. Demand remained high until the end of the
19th century.

To produce a model a skilled designer sculpted an original. From this a mould was made and this would produce about 200 models. The older the mould the more worn the details on the model became and this affects the price paid by collectors today. Quality from one factory to another can differ greatly. The flatback figure (with no detailing or painting on the back) was the result of even further cutbacks.

Staffordshire figures provide a social history of the period. They cover every type of person from the notorious rogue to the Royal family, celebrities, fictional characters, military heroes, sportsmen, and politicians.

One of the most popular models were dogs and in particular the seated King Charles spaniel. No Victorian parlour was complete without a pair of these comforter dogs by the fire. They are mainly white with painted features and of varying sizes.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Burleigh Ware

Burleigh Ware was founded in 1851 by Hulme and Booth in Burslem, Staffordshire, the heart of British ceramic manufacturing. Fine quality earthenware was what was originally made and continued to be made when in 1862 the business was taken over by William Leigh and Frederick Burgess and the name changed to ‘Burgess and Leigh’. In 1868 the operation moved to the larger premises of Hill Pottery but continued to make a range of utility, toilet and dinner ware. Slowly as the Pottery grew and production increased, new ranges of tableware began to be made with more complex patterns cementing its reputation for fine craftsmanship.

The period of the 1920s and 30s is generally known as the golden era of Burleigh Ware with the pottery being in its most productive period and employing over 500 workers with some of the most highly skilled potters and artists of the time working for them. They expanded into brightly coloured tableware during this time with probably their most recognisable pieces today being the yellow vases with sculptural handles in the form of animals and humans. The vases were all handpainted so each one was slightly different, with the most attractive generally being the most sought after.
Designers Charles Wilkes and Ernest Bailey are credited with much of the designs of these iconic vases. They made a huge variety of animals from parrots and kingfishers to butterflies and squirrels and even dragons. Most of the animals can be picked up for very reasonable prices at auction. The human characters tend to be more sought after with the examples such as the rare guardsmen and the sporting designs of the golfer and cricketer particularly popular.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website