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Neptune with a Dolphin: EC.16A-1938

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Neptune with a Dolphin


Factory: Derby Porcelain Factory
Proprietor: William Duesbury & Co.




Soft-paste porcelain figure of Neptune with a dolphin on a mound of shells, painted in enamels, and gilt

Soft-paste porcelain figure of Neptune, slip-cast, lead-glazed and painted in turquoise, green, flesh, dark pink, puce, purple, red, pale and dark brown, grey, and black enamels, and gilt. The slightly concave underside is glazed, and has a large central ventilation hole, and three large patch marks. The circular, high mound-shaped base is decorated all over the sides with applied seaweed, and seashells of different kinds in naturalistic colours. On the top there is a large white ribbed shell picked out in gold on which is a large dolphin from whose mouth a stream of water flows down to the edge of the base. In front of a dolphin Neptune stands on his left leg with his right extended behind him. His head is turned to his left, and he looks downwards. His left arm is raised to hold a iron trident with traces of gilding (see notes), and his right arm is held across his body. With his right hand he holds up a drape which billows out behind him. He has long brown hair, and a beard, and wears a white, gold, and red crown on his head. His drape has a purple ground, and reserves edged in red and gold, containing gold foliage and flowers, and is lined in pink. The dolphin has large black eyes, encircled in turquoise, red fins, a pink tail, and a mainly green body with black scales. A pair with EC.16B-1938

Legal notes

Cecil E. Byas Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 25.0 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Derby ⪼ Derbyshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1937) by Byas, Cecil E.


18th Century, Mid#
George III
Circa 1760 CE - 1765 CE


A biscuit model for the figure is among the Derby models and moulds acquired by the Copeland factory in the nineteenth century (Spode Museum, Stoke-on-Trent). The earlier edition of this figure was supported on a low base instead of this elaborate mound of shells and seaweed. The two versions are respectively B. 26 and E.61 in Bradshaw’s list of Derby figures. See Documention, 1990. The late Bernard Watney considered by the first version might have been modelled by Andrew Planché, see Documentation, 1980.

J.V.G. Mallet, wondered whether this originally dry-edge model could have been modelled by Agostino Carlini (c.1718-90) who was working in London from about 1752-3 having been living in the Netherlands from 1749-51.

The model was probably derived from a Neptune on a Dolphin in a grotto design by Francesco Fanelli, reproduced in in 'Varie Architeture di Francesco Fanelli fiorentino. Scultore del Re della Gran Bretagna', see Documentation Wengraf, 2004

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( turquoise, green, flesh, dark pink, puce, purple, red, pale and dark brown, grey, and black) gold
Base Diameter 15.0 cm
Trident Length 24.4 cm

Materials used in production

presumed lead Lead-glaze
Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Slip-casting : Soft-paste porcelain, slip-cast, lead-glazed, and painted in turquoise, green, flesh, dark pink, puce, purple, red, pale and dark brown, grey, and black enamels, and gilt

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: EC.16A-1938
Primary reference Number: 42668
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Neptune with a Dolphin" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-22 08:42:14

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{{cite web|url= |title=Neptune with a Dolphin |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-22 08:42:14|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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