Skip to main content

John Wesley: C.974-1928

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


John Wesley


Production: Unidentified factory




White earthenware figure moulded in two parts with separately moulded right arm, and covered with a blue-tinged lead-glaze and painted with black and reddish brown enamels.

Wesley stands with his left hand at his breast and his right raised in blessing. The figure is well coloured, but with the head and hands unpainted, save for the lips, eyes and eyebrows. He wears a floor-length black robe, with white bands at his neck and a wide brown sash belt. The deeply-waisted square base is painted in marbled brown. The underside is open. The back is moulded and decorated.


History note: Greville Douglas, Esq, 27 Wilton Crescent, London, S.W. Christie’s, 11 February 1919, lot 59, bought by Mr Stoner, on behalf of Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge. Auction price 3½ guineas (£3 ten shillings and sixpence) for this and another figure, ‘Popery’; Dr Glaisher paid £4 (including commission).

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L.Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 8 cm
Depth: 3.125 in
Height: 25 cm
Height: 9.75 in
Width: 8.5 cm
Width: 3.25 in

Acquisition and important dates

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


19th Century, Mid#
Victoria I
Circa 1835 CE - Circa 1850 CE


John Wesley (1703 - 1791 ) was a founding father of Methodism. Many of his converts were working class people, such as colliers, foundry-men, weavers, spinners and potters. Methodism was thus strong amongst those who made Victorian Staffordshire figures, for whom John Wesley would have been one of the most important people of the preceding century.

Rackham (1935) lists this figure as by an unidentified nineteenth century Staffordshire potter. Like most Staffordshire figures, it is unmarked, and there were many other, often smaller, manufacturers of figures working in Staffordshire at this time. Dr Glaisher also bequeathed a Rockingham porcelain figure of Wesley (C.3159-1928) preaching, c.1825-42, which, though holding a book in its left hand, is very similar to this figure and perhaps helps to date it. Underglaze black has been identified on the figures of several preachers made in the 1840s. There are also other Staffordshire religious figures modelled in a comparable pre-Victorian style which have been dated as late as 1851 (see, for example, C.995-1928).

The source of this figure may be a Minton design. The first Minton design book includes drawings of both Charles and John Wesley, in the same clerical dress as that worn by this figure. The drawing of John Wesley has similar hair and long face, and its hands are raised, though the pose is not quite the same as the figure (see Atterbury].

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( reddish-brown and black) underglaze black

Materials used in production

blue tinted Lead-glaze
White earthenware

Techniques used in production

Press-moulding : White earthenware moulded in two parts with separately moulded right arm and covered with pronouncedly blue lead-glaze (pearl glaze). Painted in black and reddish-brown enamels. The underside is open. The back is moulded and decorated.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Rectangular paper label, handwritten in black script:

  • Text: No. 4101 Standing figure of John Wesley upon a streaky red base b. at Christies, Feb 11 1919’
  • Location: Inside base, on the back
  • Method of creation: Painted in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.974-1928
Primary reference Number: 76481
Old object number: 4101
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 13 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) "John Wesley" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-17 10:25:53

Citation for Wikipedia

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

{{cite web|url= |title=John Wesley |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-17 10:25:53|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=""
        alt="John Wesley"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">John Wesley</figcaption>

More objects and works of art you might like


Accession Number: C.730 & A-1928

John Wesley

Accession Number: C.17-1975

Bust of John Wesley (1703-91)

Accession Number: C.973-1928

John Wesley

Accession Number: PER.C.3-1922

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

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