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Boy representing Africa from the Four Quarters of the Globe: C.46-1918

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Object information


Boy representing Africa from the Four Quarters of the Globe


Derby Porcelain Factory (Factory)
Robert Bloor (Proprietor)


Soft-paste porcelain figure of Africa accompanied by a lion, painted in polychrome enamels, and gilt.

Soft-paste porcelain painted overglaze in dark blue, green, bluish-green, yellow, red, brown, and black enamels, and gilt. The flat, mainly unglazed underside has a large circular ventilation hole. The roughly circular base has a small tree stump at the back, and at the front, a semi-circular panel flanked by scrolls. Africa stands on his right leg with his left bent and resting on a small lion standing behind him. His head is turned to his right, and he holds a fruit in his right hand, and supports the lower end of a cornucopia of fruit in his left hand. His skin is black, and he wears a black elephant's head headdress, and a dark blue drapery with a floral pattern, a yellow lining, and gold edge. The scrolls are picked out in gold, and the panel is decorated with a gold cornucopia.


History note: Unknown before donor

Legal notes

Given by Ralph Griffin, MA, FSA

Measurements and weight

Height: 23.4 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Derby ⪼ Derbyshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1918) by Griffin, Ralph, MA, FSA


Early 19th Century
George III
Circa 1811 CE - 1828 1828 CE


The figure of Africa derives ultimately from the representation in Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia, 1593, the first illustrated edition of which was published in Rome in 1603. It shows Africa as a woman with an elephant headdress, holding a lobster in her right hand and a cornucopia in her left, and having a lion behind her. The porcelain model also resembles the marble statue without a cornucopia or lobster in the garden at Versailles, begun by Sibrayque and completed by Jean Cornu (1650-1710) in 1682. The Derby Continents may have been inspired by one of several Meissen sets of seated or standing figures modelled c. 1745-50, by J.J. Kaendler, P. Reinicke, and F.E. Meyer, but their immediate prototype appears to have been a set of Chelsea Continents of c. 1758-9.

This model is one of a set of Continents described as the Four Quarters of the Globe in Haslem's 'Price List of Groups and Single Figures . . .' . The model conforms to Africa in no. 332 of Bradshaw's 'Revised Derby Factory List, but does not have the name of the Continent in the panel on the front of the base, see Documention, 1990.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration: composed of enamels ( in dark blue, green, bluish-green, yellow, red, brown, and black enamels) gold Base: Diameter 11.1 cm

Materials used in production

but might be bone china Soft-paste porcelain presumed lead Lead-glaze

Techniques used in production

Slip-casting : Bone china, painted overglaze in dark blue, green, bluish-green, yellow, red, brown, and black enamels, and gilt

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: No 200
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Mark

Inscription present: with a crown over

  • Text: DERBY/32
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: In red enamel
  • Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.46-1918
Primary reference Number: 42626
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 27 November 2020 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2020) "Figure" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-01-28 21:56:31

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url=|title=Figure|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-01-28 21:56:31|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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<div class="text-center my-3"> <figure class="figure"> <img src="" alt="Boy representing Africa from the Four Quarters of the Globe" class="img-fluid" /> <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Boy representing Africa from the Four Quarters of the Globe</figcaption> </figure> </div>

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