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Shepherd: C.983-1928

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Object information

Current Location: In storage




Production: Unidentified factory




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

Earthenware figure representing a gentleman in relaxed pose with his arm on a book which rests on a square pedestal. He wears a wig, a red-brown coat over a yellow waistcoat, breeches with a sprig pattern and wavy blue stockings. He stands on a green and brown grassy mound, the bottom edge of which has been cut into a scroll at the front. The back is flat and only partially painted. The underside is recessed and glazed.


History note: Bought from Mr Bishop at Bideford on 1 October 1912 for £1.7s 6d (one pound seven shillings and sixpence) by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge.

Legal notes

Dr J. W. L. Glaisher Bequest

Acquisition and important dates

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


Second quarter of 19th century
Circa 1830 CE - 1840 CE


Pearlware figures decorated with enamels were in production by 1780. They were generally made at smaller potteries and are rarely marked. A cheaper alternative to porcelain figures, they drew on a variety of 3-D 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. From the early 19th Century, scenes from everyday life and topical events were also common. These early figures are moulded, perhaps with moulded or modelled parts added, the bases often formed separately. After around 1810-1820, bocage (stylised foliage) is common and figures are often more vibrantly coloured. By c.1835, these early methods had largely given way to three-part press-moulding, which enabled cheaper, mass production of figures for a growing market.

This figure is clearly a portrait and is probably based on a contemporary engraving. Dr Glaisher suggests the subject may be George Washington (1732-1799), the first President of the United States. The flat-back style and painting of the figure indicate an 1830s date, so perhaps it commemorates Washington’s centenary.

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels lead-glaze

Materials used in production

White earthenware

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.983-1928
Primary reference Number: 76493
Old object number: 3496
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Friday 2 June 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) "Shepherd" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-06-03 06:07:56

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{{cite web|url= |title=Shepherd |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-06-03 06:07:56|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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