Skip to main content

Grace Darling and her father: C.1002-1928

An image of Model scene

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Grace Darling and her father


Production: Unidentified factory




White earthenware ornament moulded in three parts with additional modelled boat containing figures, and shards of clay used as decoration. Painted in underglaze blue, and in black, brown, green, pink, yellow and salmon pink enamels, and gilt.

The oval base is inscribed ‘Grace Darling’ in gilt script. Grace and her father face each other in a boat, on choppy water, with a lighthouse and cottage on rocky cliffs behind. The model is well coloured. The small figures have blue jackets, and her skirt is decorated in pink and green. The boat and the lighthouse are salmon pink; the latter has a red-brown door, three moulded windows, and a white lantern top decorated in gold and topped by a pink ball. The house has a red-brown door and a pink roof; there is gilt on its two windows and chimney. The scene is outlined in shards of clay, painted pink, brown and green to suggest vegetation. The underside is concave and glazed. The back is flat, with part missing.


History note: No information

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 9 cm
Depth: 3.5 in
Height: 16.5 cm
Height: 6.5 in
Width: 13.5 cm
Width: 5.25 in

Relative size of this object

13.5 cm6.5 cm9 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.

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1928) by Glaisher, J. W. L., Dr


Mid 19th century
Production date: circa AD 1840


Grace Darling (1815-1842) and her father, keeper of the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands, off the Northumberland coast, rescued four men and a woman from the wrecked steamer ‘Forfarshire’, in September 1838. They rowed for over a mile through raging seas to reach them; Grace then tended the sick whilst her father returned for more survivors. Both received gallantry medals from the Royal Humane Society and the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck (now the RNLI); Queen Victoria sent £50. Grace became a celebrity of her time, but died of tuberculosis at age 26.

Oliver (1981) notes that a poor modern reproduction of this model is frequently found.

Rackham (1935) lists this figure as of a type made chiefly by Sampson Smith at Longton, a factory listed in contemporary directories as a ‘manufacturer of figures in great variety’, which continued to make figures in quantity into the early part of the twentieth century. Sampson Smith figures typically have a flat back and plain oval base, often with a gilt script title, but the earliest known Sampson Smith figures date from around 1851. There were many other, often smaller, manufacturers of figures working in Staffordshire at this time.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( black, brown, green, pink, yellow and salmon pink) underglaze cobalt-blue gold

Materials used in production

White earthenware

Techniques used in production

Press-moulding : White earthenware moulded in three parts with additional modelled boat containing figures, and shards of clay used as decoration. Painted in underglaze blue, and in black, brown, green, pink, yellow and salmon pink enamels, and gilt. The underside is concave and glazed. The back is flat, with part missing.

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: '40'
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Handwritten in black ink
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1002-1928
Primary reference Number: 71122
Old object number: R.3226
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Tuesday 22 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 (2022) "Grace Darling and her father" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-11-28 16:33:13

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Grace Darling and her father |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-11-28 16:33:13|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        alt="Grace Darling and her father"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Grace Darling and her father</figcaption>

Please enter your name as you would like to be addressed
Please enter your email address
The object accession number - this is prefilled
Please enter your query with as much detail as possible

More objects and works of art you might like

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...