Skip to main content

Comedy: C.936A-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.

Alternative views

Object information

Current Location: In storage




Production: Unidentified factory




Earthenware figure, moulded and modelled, pearl-ware glazed and painted with polychrome enamels.

Staffordshire figure representing Comedy, standing on an oval base. A woman stands beside a pedestal and holds a circular shield in her left hand and a mirror in her right. She wears a long, flowing, short-sleeved, green gown and a red cloak draped over her left shoulder. The shield is yellow and decorated with a satyr mask, the pedestal is red-brown. The base is a pointed oval mound, moulded in relief with flowers and painted in green, blue and red. The back of the figure is flattened, but fully moulded and painted. The underside is recessed and glazed, with a central vent hole.


History note: Bought as a pair from Mr. Wordingham of Cambridge on 8 August 1925, for £4, by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge. Mr Wordingham had bought them at Wisbech.

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L.Glaisher Bequest, 1928

Measurements and weight

Height: 14.6 cm
Width: 10.5 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


19th Century, Early#
Circa 1810 - Circa 1820


Pearlware figures decorated with enamels were in production by 1780, though the bright coloured enamels on these figures indicates an early 19th Century date. They were generally made at smaller potteries and are rarely marked. A cheaper alternative to porcelain figures, they drew on a variety of sources, including sculpture and porcelain figures. Classical, biblical, mythological and literary subjects were popular, as were animals and representations of rural life, seasons and trades. Here the bodies are simple 3-part moulds, with a few hand-modelled parts applied.

This is one of a pair of female figures representing Comedy and Tragedy, personifications which date from ancient Greece. The Fitzwilliam collection holds three such earthenware figures, a pair (C.936A-1928 and C.936B-1928) and Tragedy (C.937-1928). Similarities in moulding and colours suggest that these may have come from the same maker.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels lead-glaze

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Moulding : Earthenware, moulded with applied modelled parts, lead glazed and painted with enamels.

Inscription or legends present

  • Type: No visible mark
  • Text: 4673a Staffordshire figure of standing woman carrying a shield on which is a Gorgon’s head. b. in Cambridge. Aug 9 1925, one of a pair
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Rectangular paper label handwritten in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.936A-1928
Primary reference Number: 76409
Old object number: 4573
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Tuesday 17 October 2023

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 (2023) "Comedy" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-12-01 08:00:55

Citation for Wikipedia

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

{{cite web|url= |title=Comedy |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-12-01 08:00:55|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

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

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Comedy</figcaption>

More objects and works of art you might like


Accession Number: E.33.1982


Accession Number: GR.4.1965


Accession Number: GR.67.1984

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...