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Cupid and Psyche: C.944-1928

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Object information


Cupid and Psyche


Probably Wood, Enoch (Factory)
Probably Wood & Caldwell (Factory)


Lead-glazed earthenware painted in enamels

White earthenware moulded, coated with blue-tinted lead-glaze, and painted in green, flesh dark pink, a little red, brown grey and black enamels.


History note: Percy Fitzgerald Collection; sold Christie, Manson & Woods, 24 January 1908, Staffordshire Ware, part of lot 112; Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 51.8 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Burslem ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1928-12-07) by Glaisher, J. W. L., Dr


Late 18th century
Circa 1785 CE - 1800 1800 CE


This group was derived either from a now lost marble which was excavated by Conte Giuseppe Fede (d. 1777) at Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli, and removed to his house in Rome, or from a copy made about 1730 by Laurent Delvaux, who brought it back to England when he returned. After he had left for Brussels in 1733, Delvaux left his marble with another sculptor, Peter Scheemakers, who sold it on his behalf in 1734 to John, 4th Duke of Bedford for his country seat, Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire. Count Fede's marble was identified as Cupid and Psyche, but because of the position of Cupid's head and right arm, later became known as 'Biblis and Caunus' or 'Salmacis and Hermaphroditus'. According to Haskell and Penny (1981) this was because of a restorer (having altered the position of Cupid's head and right hand). Later, these titles were dropped and it reverted to 'Cupid and Psyche', because of its resemblance to the embracing 'Cupid and Psyche' discovered in 1749 and placed in the Capitoline Museum. Rome. Count Fede's marble was also recorded in a red chalk drawing by Pompeo Battoni c. 1727-30, bequeathed by Richard Topham (1671-1730) to Eton College (Topham Collection, Bn3, no. 21). The pottery group was probably produced from a reduced size plaster purchased from a London cast maker. The Catalogue of Charles Harris (undated c. 1790), for example, included plasters of both 'Cupid and Psyche', and 'Salmacis and Hermaphroditus', 21 in high which sold for 2 guineas each. The pottery figures differ from the marbles in having oak leaves added to Cupid for modesty to make the group acceptable to the middle class patrons for whom it must have been intended, and for whom, according to Josiah Wedgwood, such adjustments were necessary. Copies of both Conte Fede's and the Capitoline 'Cupid and Psyche' were sometimes paired with copies of the Marbury Hall 'Bacchus and Ariadne' now identified as Priapus and a Maenad (for example on either side of mantelpiece at Ickworth, Suffolk), and it seems probable that the pottery versions might also have been displayed in pairs. See C.904-1928, a Staffordshire earthenware Bacchus and Ariadne, probably made by Enoch Wood or Wood & Caldwell.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration: composed of enamel ( green, flesh pink, dark pink, a little red, brown grey and black) Base: Width 20 cm

Materials used in production

blue-tinted Lead-glaze white Earthenware

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Earthenware, moulded, with blue-tinted lead-glaze, painted in green, flesh pink, a little red, brown, grey and black enamels

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.944-1928
Primary reference Number: 76424
Old object number: 2894
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 19 February 2021 Last processed: Thursday 8 April 2021

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 (2020) "Figure group" Web page available at: Accessed: 2021-10-13 18:55:32

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