Skip to main content

Lady Jane Franklin: C.1023B-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


Lady Jane Franklin


Perhaps Alpha factory (Production)


White earthenware figure moulded in three parts, with separately moulded left hand, and lead glazed. Painted with brown, black green, pink and flesh-pink enamels, and gilt.

The round to oval base is inscribed ‘LADY 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, and stands on brown painted ground. She wears a gown with full sleeves; a two-tier flounced apron or petticoat decorated with gold motifs; a green necklace; a pink and green flower coronet; orange drop earrings; and black shoes. Her left arm is raised to waist height, her right holds the tasselled ends of her gilded girdle. The underside is concave and glazed. The back is moulded, with a vent hole 4.5cm from the bottom.


History note: Mr Delves at Rye; bought with figure of Sir John 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: 8.5 cm
Depth: 3.375 in
Height: 27 cm
Height: 10.5 in
Width: 10.5 cm
Width: 4.25 in

Relative size of this object

10.5 cm10.5 cm8.5 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


Mid 19th century
Victoria I
Production date: circa AD 1850


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 Jane, Lady Franklin (1791 – 1875) is the pair to a figure of the English naval commander and Arctic explorer, Sir John Franklin. They were married in 1828. When Sir John became Lieutenant-Governor of Tasmania, from 1837-43, Lady Franklin became an explorer and social pioneer of some renown.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( brown, black green, pink 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 separately moulded left hand, and lead glazed. Painted with brown, black green, pink and flesh-pink enamels. The underside is concave and glazed. The back is moulded, with a vent hole 4.5cm from the bottom.
Painting Lead-glazing Gilding

Inscription or legends present

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

  • Location: Front of base
  • Method of creation: Painted in gold
  • Type: Name

Inscription present: rectangular paper label

  • Text: No.3422. Staffordshire figure of Lady Franklin (wife of polar explorer)... [remaining words rubbed away].
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Handwritten in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1023B-1928
Primary reference Number: 71186
Old object number: 3422
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 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) "Lady Jane Franklin" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-06-27 12:35:16

Citation for Wikipedia

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

{{cite web|url= |title=Lady Jane Franklin |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-06-27 12:35:16|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

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

                <div class="text-center my-3">
                    <figure class="figure">
                        <img src=""
                        alt="Lady Jane Franklin"
                        class="img-fluid" />
                        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Lady Jane Franklin</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

Sir John Franklin

Accession Number: C.1023A-1928

Lady Anne Jane Gower d. 1832

Accession Number: 3782

Lady Jane Grey

Accession Number: P.6531-R

Unknown lady (perhaps Lady Jane Grey)

Accession Number: PD.1-1963

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...