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Courtship: C.972-1928

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Object information

Current Location: In storage




Production: Unidentified factory
John Walton (Possibly)




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

Earthenware group of a dandy and his lady walking arm in arm, the lady wearing a poke bonnet and the man a top hat, his head turned to look at her face. The lady is using a furled green parasol as a walking stick, she wears a yellow poke bonnet. a wavy pink dress with sleeves puffed up at the shoulders and a yellow apron. Her bonnet is very large and has a pink band with three blue feathers at the front. The gentleman wears a top hat and a frilled shirt with stock and high collar. He has a green coat, over a yellow waistcoat, and pale blue trousers. He carries yellow gloves in his left hand. They stand on a rectangular base, which has marbled black sides and a green top. At the back is a flattened tree stump. The underside of the base is recessed and glazed.


History note: Captain Reynolds Collection, London, sold to Messrs Gill and Reigate. Bought by Mr Stoner, London, from whom purchased in 1910 by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge. Dr Glaisher paid £125 for this and fourteen other pieces, as part of a purchase of 35 figures and figure groups.

Legal notes

Dr. J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest, 1928

Measurements and weight

Height: 20.9 cm
Width: 11.5 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Burslem ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

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


19th Century, Early#
Circa 1820 CE - Circa 1825 CE


Earthenware figure groups were popular from around 1810, although the earliest examples date from nearly a century before. A cheaper alternative to porcelain figures, they were generally produced by small potteries and very few are marked. Classical or literary subjects might be copied from porcelain examples, but scenes from everyday life and topical events were also increasingly popular. These early figure groups are often complex, with modelled and moulded parts and applied decoration; the backs, though flat, are decorated. As demand increased, processes were streamlined to allow cheaper mass production and by the mid 1830s the earlier methods had largely given way to three-part press-moulding.

Some features of the modelling suggest this group might have been made by John Walton of Burslem, as mooted by Bernard Rackham in 1935. However, designs were frequently copied between potteries and this un-marked piece lacks the bocage often found on Walton’s figures.

This fashionably dressed man is a ‘dandy’ – a gentleman who regards his appearance as important. The group perhaps represents courtship. As Dr Glaisher's notes say, such groups are particularly interesting because they show contemporary costume.

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels lead-glaze

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

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

Inscription or legends present

  • Type: No visible mark
  • Text: 3206 Staffordshire courtship group of a lady and gentleman walking arm in arm. The lady wears a wide poke bonnet. From the Reynolds Collection, June 1910.
  • 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.972-1928
Primary reference Number: 76479
Old object number: 3206
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 15 June 2023 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 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 (2024) "Courtship" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-15 00:44:26

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{{cite web|url= |title=Courtship |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-15 00:44:26|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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