Look into a tiny corner of the enthralling world of antique Victorian Staffordshire pottery spaniels. These are a type of pottery ‘figure’ made in the UK between 1837 and 1900. Typically they were decorated with coloured enamels over a plain lead glaze.
At the height of British Empire, with a strong economy, and a popular Queen, you would likely be interested in buying such a figure for your mantlepiece. At the height of madness in today’s world, you might be thinking of investing in a piece of history.
Victorian Staffordshire pottery
With the accession of an attractive young Queen, the potteries went to work producing figures celebrating herself, her marriage,
and her children, nine in all. Note the Staffordshire potters exploiting all selling points: children of the Queen, charming dogs almost as large as the children, and kilts to remind us of the Queen’s love of Scotland.
Deeply concerned with the Crimean War (1854-56), her armed forces, her alliances, generals and victories were further subjects for the potters of Staffordshire to portray.
At least the potters spared us tartan for the young people prepared to die.
Two Famous Women
The outstanding character, it could be said, of the Crimean War was no ally, general, or politician friend of the Queen.
It was instead, Florence Nightingale. She fought the Army Generals to allow her to serve. She brought organisation and medical discipline to the shambles that were army hospitals supporting the fighting men. Before her time thousands died unnecessarily of their wounds.
Returning from the war, she wrote the first ever book on practical Nursing, and founded the first ever Nursing School.
Another celebrated individual, memoirs first published in 1838, was the remarkable Lady Hester Stanhope.
In 1876 two female novelists George Eliot and Louisa May Alcott, both celebrated her very remarkable originality of thought and extraordinary expeditions that had been conducted earlier in the century. Her archaeological expedition to Palestine was the first ever dig allowed in that country. The accumulation of publicity made a great impact on the general public.
Thus, mounted on a camel and dressed as a male Arab, she had become a suitable subject for a pottery figure.
For some interesting dates, spaniel figures, other breeds and animals please read on by clicking 2…