Skip to main content

Sir John Franklin: C.1023A-1928

An image of Figure

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.

Colours in this image

Alternative views

Object information

Titles

Sir John Franklin

Maker(s)

Perhaps Alpha factory (Production)

Description

White earthenware figure moulded in three parts, with separately moulded telescope, and lead glazed. Painted with brown, black, orange, grey and flesh-pink enamels, and gilt. The underside is concave and glazed.

The oval base is inscribed ‘SIR JOHN FRANKLIN’, painted in partly-incised gilt capitals with three gilt strokes to either side. The figure is mainly white, with features picked out in enamels and gilt. Sir John stands in front of a brown painted rock, on brown painted ground. He wears uniform, with medals, epaulets, gold buttons and bicorne (or cocked) hat; his collar and shoes are black. He carries a telescope which is coloured orange and grey with black bands. The back is moulded, with a vent hole 9cm from the bottom.

Notes

History note: Mr Delves at Rye; bought as a pair with Lady Franklin, 14 November 1911 for 30 shillings, by Dr Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge.

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L.Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 8 cm
Depth: 3.125 in
Height: 27.5 cm
Height: 10.75 in
Width: 11.5 cm
Width: 4.5 in

Relative size of this object

11.5 cm10.8 cm8 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
Production date: circa AD 1850

Note

An engraving in 'The Illustrated London News', 13 September 1851 shows Franklin in a similar pose and dress, save only that the telescope is reversed (reproduced in Pugh (1970), p.265, Plate 29).

Following Pugh (1970) and Balston (1958), it seems more likely that this figure was made by the ‘Alpha Factory’, an as yet unidentified producer whose figures share a number of common features. Here these include: well moulded in the round; a subsidiary moulding; and the title in partly incised capitals bracketed by three strokes of gilt.

In 1845, Sir John lead an expedition to discover the North West Passage, a route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, passing through the Canadian Arctic archipelago, but did not return. After many search parties, several of which were funded by Lady Franklin, traces of ships and provisions were found, but no survivors. The expedition has inspired a wide variety of artistic works, including a ballad Lady Franklin’s Lament, c.1852. It is likely seems likely that this pair of figures was made at around the same time.

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 there were many other manufacturers of figures working in Staffordshire at this time.

This figure of the English naval commander and Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin (1786-1847) is the pair to a figure of Lady Jane Franklin. From 1837-43, Sir John was Lieutenant-Governor of Tasmania, from 1837-43, whilst Lady Franklin became an explorer and social pioneer of some renown.

School or Style

Victorian

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( brown, black, orange, grey and flesh-pink enamels) gold

Materials used in production

White earthenware Lead-glaze

Techniques used in production

Press moulding : White earthenware moulded in three parts, with separately moulded telescope, and lead-glazed. Painted with brown, black, orange, grey and flesh-pink enamels, and gilt. The underside is concave and glazed. The back is moulded, with a vent hole 9cm from the bottom.
Painting Lead-glazing Gilding

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: partly-incised gilt capitals with three gilt strokes to either side

  • Text: SIR JOHN FRANKLIN
  • Location: Front of base
  • Method of creation: Painted in gold
  • Type: Name

Inscription present: rectangular paper label

  • Text: No. 3421. Staffordshire figure of Sir John Franklin (polar explorer) – circa 1850 – b. at Rye, Nov 14, 1911
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Hand-written in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1023A-1928
Primary reference Number: 71185
Old object number: 3421
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 25 February 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 (2022) "Sir John Franklin" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/71185 Accessed: 2022-07-07 05:58:47

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/71185 |title=Sir John Franklin |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-07-07 05:58:47|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:

https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/api/v1/objects/object-71185

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="https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/imagestore/aa/aa2/C_1023A_1928_281_29.jpg"
        alt="Sir John Franklin"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Sir John Franklin</figcaption>
    </figure>
</div>
    

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

Lady Jane Franklin

Accession Number: C.1023B-1928

Bust of Benjamin Franklin (1706-90)

Accession Number: M.2-1902

Benjamin Franklin

Accession Number: P.8606-R

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...