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William Shakespeare (1564-1616): C.49A-1918

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 26 (Lower Marlay)


William Shakespeare (1564-1616)


Factory: Derby Porcelain Factory
Proprietor: Robert Bloor & Co.
Designer: Kent, William (After)
Sculptor: Scheemakers, Peter (After)
Cast maker: Cheere, John (Possibly)




Bone china figure of William Shakespeare standing beside a pedestal painted in enamels and gilded

Bone china (?) figure of William Shakespeare, slip-cast, and painted overglaze in green, yellow, pink, flesh, red, purple, and brown enamels, and gilt. The unglazed underside has a large central ventilation hole through which the partly glazed interior can be seen. The base is rectangular with cut corners, and fluted sides, which have a gold line round the top and bottom edges. The poet stands with his right leg crossed over his left, leaning on his right elbow on a pile of three books resting on top of a three-sided pedestal. With his left hand he points to an inscription on a scroll handing down from below the books. His hair and beard are brown, and he has ruddy cheeks, and red lips. He wears a close-fitting jacket, with gold decoration on the front, and gold buttons; breeches with gold buttons and a band at the knee; a long cloak with a pink lining and gold edges, and shoes with gold ties on top. The pedestal is decorated on the angles with heads of Henry V, Richard III, and Queen Elizabeth with volutes below. The books are red and gold, green and purple, and purple and yellow. The scroll is inscribed in gold in capital letters:


History note: Uncertain before donor, Ralph Griffin, MA, FSA (St John's College, Cambridge)

Legal notes

Given by Ralph Griffin, MA, FSA

Measurements and weight

Height: 25.2 cm
Width: 13.9 cm

Relative size of this object

13.9 cm25.2 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Place(s) associated

  • Derby ⪼ Derbyshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1918-08-28) by Griffin, Ralph, MA, FSA


Bloor Period
19th century
George IV
Circa 1825 CE - 1828 CE


Bone china replaced soft-paste porcelain at Derby at an unknown date between 1810-15, initially for useful wares.

This is a late example of a model which was introduced on a low scrolled base in the late 1750s, and later on a rectangular base with cut corners and fluted sides. The model was derived from the monument in Westminster Abbey, designed by William Kent (1685-1748) and executed in marble by Peter Scheemakers (1681-1761) in 1740. Its direct prototype was probably a reduced-size plaster, such as one of those stocked by John Cheere in London. See Documentation, Friedman (1974) and Lippert ( 1987) . It was often sold as a pair with Milton, see C.49B-1918. The inscription is taken from one of Prospero's speeches in the Tempest, Act IV, Scene I, but is not identical to the accepted modern text, and also differs from the inscription on the Fitzwilliam's earlier biscuit Shakespeare.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( green, yellow, pink, flesh, red, purple, and brown) gold

Materials used in production

Bone china

Techniques used in production

Slip-casting : Bone china, slip-cast and painted overglaze in green, yellow, pink, flesh, red, purple, and brown enamels, and gilt. The unglazed underside has a large central ventilation hole through which the partly glazed interior can be seen.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: a circular with a crown in the centre and 'BLOOR/ DERBY' around it between concentric circles

  • Location: On the underside of base
  • Method of creation: Stamped in red
  • Type: Mark

Inscription present: large script N

  • Text: No 305
  • Location: On underside of base
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.49A-1918
Primary reference Number: 42720
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 15 August 2017 Last processed: Friday 11 November 2022

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 (2023) "William Shakespeare (1564-1616)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-02-04 23:17:16

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{{cite web|url= |title=William Shakespeare (1564-1616) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-02-04 23:17:16|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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