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Jenny Lind (as 'Alice'): C.1014-1928

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Jenny Lind (as 'Alice')


Production: Unidentified factory




White earthenware figure moulded in three parts and pearlware glazed. Painted with black, grey, blue, red, pink, green yellow and flesh-pink enamels, and gilt.

Jenny Lind sits with her hands clasped around a pillar which supports a stone cross; she looks away from the cross, over her left shoulder. The rectangular base is rounded to the back and one side and decorated with an impressed pattern and gilt touches; the front is moulded in rococo style and bears the title ‘Jenny Lind as Alice in Meyerbeer’s Opera’ in gilt script, on a ribbon. The figure is well coloured. The cross is grey, outlined in black, and a pink and green vine winds up the pillar. Jenny Lind wears a low blue bodice with pink cuffs, a tartan sash with red tasselled edge, and a flowered yellow skirt. Her black hair is tied back in a bun. The underside is concave and glazed. The back is moulded and decorated for the upper body only, and has a vent hole 12.5cm from the bottom.


History note: Wm Brough and Sons, 312 and 313 Broad Street, Birmingham, bought on 29 May, 1913 for £2 and five shillings, by Dr Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge.

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 12.5 cm
Depth: 5 in
Height: 34.5 cm
Height: 13.5 in
Width: 18.5 cm
Width: 7.25 in

Acquisition and important dates

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


19th Century, Mid#
Victoria I
Production date: circa AD 1847


Jenny Lind (1820-1887) was a Swedish opera soprano. She sang with Verdi, and Mendelssohn wrote the soprano part in Elijah for her. She is believed to have inspired several Hans Christian Andersen stories, including The Ugly Duckling and The Emperor’s Nightingale. In May 1847, she made her London debut in the role of Alice in Meyerbeer’s opera, Roberto il diavolo (Robert the Devil) at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, to immense popular acclaim – it is said that Queen Victoria threw her a bouquet rom the Royal Box. In later life she raised substantial funds for good causes, such as Florence Nightingale’s Nursing Fund and The Railway Servants’ Benevolent Fund.

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 began around 1851 and continued to make figures in quantity into the early part of the twentieth century. But Sampson Smith figures were rarely marked, and typically have a flat, undecorated back and plain oval base, and are made without subsidiary mouldings. Meanwhile there were many other, sometimes smaller, manufacturers of figures working in Staffordshire at this time.

The source for this figure is a coloured lithograph of Jenny Lind as Alice in Meyerbeer’s Opera, Roberto il Diavolo, by T. Packer, which shows Lind in the same pose and dress. An engraving in The London Illustrated News of 8th May 1847 also shows her in a similar pose, but recoiling in fear from a male character who points aggressively at her (see Pugh (1970), pp.74 and 455). The existence of several differently moulded Jenny Lind figures based on these illustrations indicates their popularity, and that they were made by a number of different manufacturers. Pugh (1970) estimates that, in all, some 18 different Jenny Lind figures were made.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( black, grey, blue, red, pink, green yellow and flesh-pink) gold

Materials used in production

White earthenware

Techniques used in production

Press moulding : White earthenware moulded in three parts and pearlware glazed. Painted with black, grey, blue, red, pink, green yellow and flesh-pink enamels, and gilt. The underside is concave and glazed. The back is moulded and decorated for the upper body only, and has a vent hole 12.5cm from the bottom.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: in gilt script, on a ribbon

  • Text: Jenny Lind as Alice in Meyerbeer’s Opera
  • Location: Front of base
  • Method of creation: Painted in gold
  • Type: Name

Inscription present: rectangular paper label

  • Text: No. 3622 Large Staffs statuette of Jenny Lind kneeling and clasping a cross. b. May 29, 1913. Came from Birmingham
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Handwritten in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1014-1928
Primary reference Number: 71141
Old object number: 3622
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) "Jenny Lind (as 'Alice')" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-23 18:54:49

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