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Leopard: C.853-1928

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)




Unidentified factory (Production)


Earthenware, slip-cast, lead glazed and painted with oxides and enamels.

Slip-cast animal figure of a leopard lying with head up, ears pricked and eyes alert, on a green base. The leopard is finely modelled and coloured a pale mustard yellow with dark brown stippled spots; its eyes are brown and eyes, inner ears, mouth, whiskers and claws are picked out in black. The base is sponged grass green. Blades of grass and the animal’s eyebrows are suggested by grey strokes, lightly applied with a stiff brush. The underside is open and the interior glazed.


History note: Bought by Mr Stoner at Puttick and Simpson, Argyll St, London, on 2 March 1917, lot 235, for £4.10s.6p (four pounds ten shillings and sixpence); sold on to Dr Glaisher for £4.14s.6p (four pounds fourteen shillings and sixpence).

Legal notes

Dr J. W. L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 13.3 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


Early 19th Century
Circa 1800 CE - Perhaps 1830 CE


Earthenware figures were generally made at smaller potteries, drawing on a variety of sources, including sculpture and porcelain figures, and are rarely marked. They were popular from around 1780, but both the subject and production of this figure are unusual. Early figures are usually press moulded, perhaps with modelled parts added; slip-casting was a more expensive process which required longer drying times and so was only used for figures that could command a higher price. Meanwhile, although figures of exotic animals, such as lions, were common, very few leopards were made. These factors, together with the delicate decoration and the scarcity of surviving examples, suggest this figure was made for a specialist market.

Exotic animals, previously only seen in aristocratic collections, became more widely known from the late 18th Century as travelling menageries took them out to the public. These shows evolved into what we now know as circus around the 1830s, as animal tamers’ tricks, brass bands and human performers were added. One such venture, Wombwell’s Menagerie, began in c.1807; by 1839 it included 15 wagons of animals; by 1850 there were three shows touring; and the business continued until 1884.

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels lead-glaze

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Slip-casting : Earthenware, slip-cast, lead glazed and painted with oxides and enamels.

Inscription or legends present

  • Type: No visible mark
  • Text: No 4035 Reclining leopard on a green base. Staffordshire pottery, b. at Puttick’s March 2 1917
  • Location: Inside base
  • Method of creation: Rectangular paper label handwritten in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.853-1928
Primary reference Number: 76232
Old object number: 4035
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Monday 25 July 2022

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) "Leopard" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-08-12 06:59:58

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{{cite web|url= |title=Leopard |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-08-12 06:59:58|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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