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Lion carrying Cupid: C.866-1928

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Lion carrying Cupid


Production: Wood, Ralph, II (Probably)




Earthenware figure group, moulded with modelled additions and decorated with coloured lead glazes.

White earthenware group moulded in several parts, with modeled additions. A lion stands with tail between his rear legs and head turned to the right to look up at a half standing figure of Cupid mounted on its back. The lion’s teeth are bared. Cupid, originally with wings, is holding a globe in his left hand and drawing on it with a quill in his right. The lion is golden brown and has a modelled mane, the Cupid is flesh-toned, with blond hair and a blue quiver. They stand on a mound decorated with moulded and green-tinged leaves, above a pearlware (blue-tinged) rectangular plinth. The underside is open and un-glazed.


History note: Bought from Madame L’Hote-Saintoin, 62 Grande rue, Boulogne-sur-Mer by Dr. J.W.G. Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge. Dr Glaisher paid 15 francs for the lion on 2 June 1913 and 8 francs for the panther (already missing its rider) on 4 October 1913. According to the vendor, both pieces were from the same previous owner.

Legal notes

Dr J. W. L. Glaisher Bequest, 1928

Measurements and weight

Height: 20.5 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Burslem ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

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


Last quarter of 18th century
Circa 1780 CE - Circa 1795 CE


The figures are exceptionally well modelled and other examples have been found with gilding. They were probably made by Ralph Wood (1748-95) of Burslem, whose father was also a modeller and mould-maker (Ralph Wood, d. 1772). Ralph jnr. learned his trade through apprenticeship at Wedgwood, while his brother John trained at Wedgwood’s London warehouse/salerooms. Ralph was briefly in partnership with his cousin Enoch before establishing his Burslem business, which was continued after his death by his son (another Ralph). John Wood is known to have bought figures from his brother and his account book of 9 December 1785 notes the sale of ‘1 pair Lyon & Panther with cupids coloured & Gilt 4.6d’ to a Mr John Edwards.

This is one of pair, its companion piece having cupid on a panther (or lioness), looking up to the stars through a telescope. The winged cupid represents love, and riding or subduing a ferocious lion symbolises ‘love conquers all’; the globe and link to the heavens suggest that love knows no boundaries.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of lead-glaze
Base Length 15.2 cm Width 9 cm

Materials used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.866-1928
Primary reference Number: 76246
Old object number: 3614
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Monday 26 September 2022

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Lion carrying Cupid" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-10-06 02:19:09

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{{cite web|url= |title=Lion carrying Cupid |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-10-06 02:19:09|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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