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Moses holding the tablets of the law: C.1018-1928

An image of Watch stand

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Object information

Titles

Moses holding the tablets of the law

Maker(s)

Unidentified factory (Production)

Description

White earthenware figure moulded in three parts, with 5cm diameter circular hole containing a separately moulded half-bowl to the front, and pearlware glazed. Painted with black, grey, green, blue, red, pink, orange and flesh-pink enamels, and gilt.

Moses sits above the watch opening, which is encircled by a spray of green leaves and blue flowers. His left hand supports the tablets of the law. A black staff rests against his right shoulder. The oval base has a chamfered top edge to the front, on which ‘MOSES’ is inscribed in relief, black script capitals, above a gilt line. The figure is well coloured. Moses wears a pink robe, a yellow skirt decorated with tiny, red, brown and blue flower sprigs, and an orange belt. His hair and beard are long and grey; his feet are bare. The figure is framed by three flame-like green leaves on each side, which curl up from the bottom. The base is concave and glazed. Only the back of Moses is moulded; there is a vent hole 14.5cm from the bottom.

Notes

History note: Mrs Shaw (née. Miss C. Crommelin), ‘Art at Home’, 167a Victoria St, London SW, bought for one guinea (£1 and one shilling) on 10 May 1909, by Dr Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 7.5 cm
Depth: 3 in
Height: 31 cm
Height: 12.25 in
Width: 13 cm
Width: 5.125 in

Relative size of this object

13 cm12.3 cm7.5 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

Dating

Mid 19th century
Victoria I
Circa 1860 CE - Circa 1875 1875 CE

Note

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. Sampson Smith figures typically have a flat back, simplified design and plain oval base, so this figure could have been made there. However, there were many other, often smaller, manufacturers of figures working in Staffordshire at this time.

The pose refers to the Old Testament story of the prophet Moses. After an encounter with God in the form of a ‘burning bush’(perhaps represented here by the flame-like leaves around the watch hole), Moses led the Jews out of slavery in Egypt and to the Holy Land that God had promised them. God parted the Red Sea to help their escape and helped them in many other ways. At Mount Sinai, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on two tablets of stone: ‘And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.’ (The Bible, Authorised King James Version, 1611, Exodus 31.18).

The style and size of this watchstand figure, which is without underglaze cobalt blue, suggest of date of around 1860-75.

School or Style

Victorian

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

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

Materials used in production

White earthenware Lead-glaze

Techniques used in production

Press moulding : White earthenware moulded in three parts, with 5cm diameter circular hole containing a separately moulded half-bowl to the front, and pearlware glazed. Painted with black, grey, green, blue, red, pink, orange and flesh-pink enamels, and gilt. The base is concave and glazed. Only the back of Moses is moulded; there is a vent hole 14.5cm from the bottom.
Painting Lead-glazing Gilding

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: base has a chamfered top edge to the front, on which ‘MOSES’ is inscribed in relief, black script capitals, above a gilt line

  • Text: MOSES
  • Location: Front of base
  • Method of creation: Moulded and painted in black enamel
  • Title

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1018-1928
Primary reference Number: 71146
Old object number: 2990
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 8 September 2020 Last processed: Sunday 28 November 2021

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 (2020) "Watch stand" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/71146 Accessed: 2022-01-19 16:57:21

Citation for Wikipedia

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

{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/71146|title=Watch stand|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-01-19 16:57:21|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

<div class="text-center my-3"> <figure class="figure"> <img src="https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/imagestore/aa/aa36/C_1018_1928_1_201703_mfj22_dc2.jpg" alt="Moses holding the tablets of the law" class="img-fluid" /> <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Moses holding the tablets of the law</figcaption> </figure> </div>

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