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Family Group: C.952-1928

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Family Group


Unidentified factory




Earthenware figure group, modelled with moulded parts, pearlware glazed and painted with polychrome enamels.

Earthenware group of a gentleman and lady seated on a bench. He is playing with a small girl who stands on his knee supported by his right hand. The lady hold a small baby on her lap. her (now broken off, possibly flowers?). She ears a small white hat, a pink coat dress over a skirt decorated with multicoloured dots and stylised flowers. Her hat is decorated with green leaves. She has a yellow bow at her neck. The gentleman, bare-headed, wears a short turquoise coat over a white shirt with stock and high collar, and white trousers. Both wear black shoes. They sit on a moulded yellow bench in front of a stylised tree which has blue and red flowers. Beside him is a brown urn holding a leafy plant. A small dog to her left looks up at her. The scene is placed on a raised oval base which has a flat top and, at the front, a relief moulded panel of red, pink and yellow feathers between scrolling foliage. The foliage and top of the panel are edged in blue; the rest of the base is painted grass green. The back is fully decorated. The underside is flat, within a deep rim which forms the sides of the base.


History note: Bought in London in October 1916 by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 16 cm
Width: 20 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


19th Century, Early#
Circa 1825 CE - Circa 1835 CE


Bocage figure groups are often associated with John Walton of Burslem and this attribution was suggested by Rackham, 1935. However, the distinctive base here does not seem typical of marked Walton examples and we now know that several potters made figure groups in this style, often copying designs and other features.

Earthenware figure groups were popular from around 1810, although the earliest examples date from nearly a century earlier. A cheaper alternative to porcelain figures, they were often produced by small potteries; very few are marked. Classical or literary subjects were frequently copied from porcelain examples, but potters increasingly turned to scenes from everyday life and topical events. These early figure groups are often complex, with modelled and moulded parts and applied decoration and bocage (stylised foliage) is common on groups from c.1810-20; the backs, though flattened, are also decorated. But as demand increased processes were simplified to allow cheaper mass production and by the mid 1830s the earlier methods had largely given way to three-part press-moulding.

This fashionably dressed couple and their setting have similarities with other figure groups. A ‘Courtship’ couple with very similar base, bocage, bench, urn and decoration on her dress is in the Fitzwilliam collection (C.958-1928) , while a near-identically dressed couple with similarly posed woman and baby are found on a table base as part of a ‘Teetotal’ group (Schkolne, p.178). All are probably from the same pottery, while the base and subject of the latter suggest an early 1830s date. As Dr Glaisher's notes say, such figure groups are particularly interesting because they show contemporary costume.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( blue, turquoise, green, yellow, pink, orange-red, brown, grey, and black) lead-glaze

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Type: No visible mark
  • Text: Staffordshire figure group of a man and a woman seated on a bench, the man with a child standing on his knee and the woman with a baby in her lap. b. in London Oct 16, 1916.
  • 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.952-1928
Primary reference Number: 76445
Old object number: 4653
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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Family Group" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-12-04 10:20:53

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{{cite web|url= |title=Family Group |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-12-04 10:20:53|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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