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Victor Emmanuel II: C.1027-1928

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Object information


Victor Emmanuel II
King of Sardinia


Unidentified factory (Production)


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

The oval base is flattened to the front and bears the two-line title 'KING OF / SARDINIA' in raised gilt capitals. The King stands at ease, his left hand on his hip and his right resting on a short pillar, over which his ermine-trimmed cloak is draped. The figure is mainly white, with features picked out in enamels and gilt. He wears military uniform, with a long cut-away jacket, sash, sword, star and loops of braid hanging from his right shoulder, all decorated in gilt. There are black enamel touches on the cloak, to suggest ermine. The King has a long black beard and moustache, his eyebrows are finely painted and his cheeks pink flushed. The underside is concave and glazed. The back is moulded, with a vent hole 16 cm from the bottom.


History note: Bought in Cambridge on 8 February 1909, for 15/- (fifteen shillings), by Dr Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L.Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 10 cm
Depth: 3.875 in
Height: 42.5 cm
Height: 16.75 in
Width: 16 cm
Width: 6.25 in

Relative size of this object

16 cm16.8 cm10 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
Circa 1855 CE - Circa 1860 CE


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, often smaller, manufacturers of figures working in Staffordshire at this time.

The alliance of France, England and Turkey against the Russia Empire in the Crimean War was a popular source for Staffordshire figures. The date of this figure is probably 1855, when Victor Emmanuel made a state visit to England.

Victor Emmanuel II was King of Sardinia and Piedmont from 1849. He took a leading role in the Risorgimento, the social and political campaign for Italian unification, supported by his prime minister, Camillo di Cavour. As part of a strategy to gain the support of Britain and France, he joined the alliance against the Russian Empire in the Crimean War, 1854-56. Following a treaty with Garibaldi, after the latter’s conquest of Naples and Sicily, led to the proclamation of Victor Emmanuel as the first King of Italy in 1861.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( black, red and flesh-pink) gold

Materials used in production

White earthenware Lead-glaze

Techniques used in production

Press-moulding : White earthenware moulded in three parts and pearlware glazed. Painted with black, red and flesh-pink enamels, and gilt. The underside is concave and glazed. The back is moulded, with a vent hole 16 cm from the bottom

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1027-1928
Primary reference Number: 71190
Old object number: 2945
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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Victor Emmanuel II" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-07-07 06:33:55

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{{cite web|url= |title=Victor Emmanuel II |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-07-07 06:33:55|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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