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Neptune with Dolphin: C.20C-1928

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 26 (Lower Marlay)


Neptune with Dolphin


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




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

Soft-paste porcelain figure of Neptune with a Dolphin, slip cast, and painted over lead-glaze in blue, green, yellow, orange, flesh, pink, puce, red, brown, and black enamels and gilt. The unglazed underside has a large circular central ventialation hole, and three patch marks. The circular high mound base has a wavy edge, and pierced sides decorated with applied seaweed, coral, and realistic shells of different shapes and sizes coloured naturalistically. Neptune stands on a large white ribbed shell picked out in gold which rests on top of the mound. His left leg is forward, and his right extended behind him. His head is turned to his left, and he looks downwards. His left arm is raised to hold a metal trident (see notes). His right arm is held across his body and with his right hand he holds up a drape which billows out behind him. He has long greyish-black hair, and a beard, and wears a white, gold, and red crown on his head. His drape is white with a red, blue, and gold floral pattern, and is lined with pink. Behind him is a dolphin, facing to the right, with water flowing out of its mouth and down the side of the mound. Its scales are green, and it has pale orange-red fins and tail, and a round black eye with a narrow orange-red circle and a wide yellow circle round each. Its upper lip is pale brown with black markings.


History note: Unknown before donor

Legal notes

Given by J.R. Wardale, MA

Measurements and weight

Height: 25.1 cm
Width: 15.2 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Derby ⪼ Derbyshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1928) by Wardale, J. R.


18th Century
George III
Circa 1765 CE - 1770 CE


A biscuit model for the figure is among the Derby models and mouldsacquired by the Copeland factory in the nineteenth century, were formerly in the Spode Museum, Stoke-on-Trent.

The model was probably derived from a Neptune on a dolphin in a grotto design by Francesco Fanelli, engraved in 'Varie Architeture di Francesco Fanelli Fiorentino, Scultore del Re della Gran Bretagna'. A plaster model of 'A Neptune on a Fountain' was in the Duke of Buckingham's collection in 1635. Patricia Wengraf has suggested that this could have provided the model from which the Derby modeller worked. See Documentation Leithe-Jasper and Wengraf, 2004.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( blue, green, yellow, orange, flesh, pink, puce, red, brown, and black) gold
Sirface composed of lead-glaze ( presumed lead)

Materials used in production

Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Slip casting : Soft-paste porcelain, slip-cast, and painted overglaze in blue, green, yellow, orange, flesh, pink, puce, red, brown, and black enamels and gilt.

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.20C-1928
Primary reference Number: 43350
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

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

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Neptune with Dolphin" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-25 02:28:58

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{{cite web|url= |title=Neptune with Dolphin |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-25 02:28:58|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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