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Britannia on a Lion: C.910-1928

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Britannia on a Lion


Modeller: Wood, Enoch
Production: Wood & Caldwell




Earthenware figure group, moulded with modelled additions, lead glazed and painted with enamels.

White earthenware figure of Britannia, seated, with her right hand raised to hold a metal trident (now missing). She wears a green robe with a red cloak over a light purple dress. Over her chest is a breast-plate and on her head a feathered helmet, both stippled grey to suggest metal. With her left hand she supports a grey ‘metal’ shield with the Union Jack in relief. A yellow brown lion crouches to her right. It has a modelled mane and eyes, nose, whiskers and claws picked out in black; its rear is concealed beneath Britannia’s robe. The whole group is supported on a rocky mound with flowers and ‘parsley’ grass applied in relief. The underside is slightly recessed and flat, with a large central vent hole, and glazed.


History note: Bought from A.G.Smith of 193 Wardour Street, London on 15 February 1905, for £8.0s, by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge.

Legal notes

Dr J. W. L. Glaisher Bequest, 1928

Measurements and weight

Depth: 15.2 cm
Height: 24.2 cm
Width: 17.2 cm

Relative size of this object

17.2 cm24.2 cm15.2 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.

Place(s) associated

  • Burslem ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

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


First quarter of 19th century
Circa 1810 - Circa 1815


Enoch Wood (1759-1840) was the son of Aaron Wood, an accomplished modeller. Enoch learned drawing and anatomy before working for Wedgwood and then an apprenticeship with Humphrey Palmer of Hanley Green. From 1790-1818 he was in partnership with James Caldwell, a lawyer from Newcastle under Lyme, and later ran his own successful business.

Pearlware figure groups were popular from around 1810, although the earliest examples date from nearly a century before. They were produced by many small potteries and very few are marked. Earlier examples, like this, generally have both modelled and moulded parts, applied decoration and slightly flattened, decorated backs. But by c.1835 three-part press-moulding had largely taken over, enabling faster and cheaper production for a growing market.

The figure of Britannia has symbolised Britain since Roman times; the lion at her side represents England. In the early 19th cntury, Britain was at war with France until Wellington’s victory at Waterloo in 1815 and patriotism was an important theme for engravings, which may have been a source for this figure. Other examples from the same mould are found decorated with silver lustre, a new material at this time.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels lead-glaze

Materials used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Location: On rear of base
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Factory mark
  • Text: Burslem
  • Location: On rear of base
  • Method of creation: Incised script
  • Type: Factory mark
  • Type: No paper label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.910-1928
Primary reference Number: 76344
Old object number: 2330
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Tuesday 22 November 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) "Britannia on a Lion" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-11-28 03:04:59

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{{cite web|url= |title=Britannia on a Lion |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-11-28 03:04:59|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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