I admit to having seen it some years ago, and it has been seared onto my brain ever since. Most earthenware chariots are not very appealing, so let's look at what makes this one different.
- First, this chariot measures about 11 inches by 11 inches, so it is larger than others.
- Second, it is much, much, much prettier. Just look at the vibrant enamel colors, the modeling, those beautiful tigers. Could it get any better?
- Third, it is very much rarer--perhaps unique. In fact, I know of no other example of this model.
- Fourth, the condition is excellent, with only minor restoration.
- Fifth, the chariot can be attributed to John Dale with confidence.
This chariot is, to my mind, rarer and more important than a menagerie and it is priced accordingly. The lady seated so regally within is probably Cybele or one or other of the classical female deities. I have tracked down about half-a-dozen prints applied to glass from this same period, all showing a goddess within a chariot pulled by felines. Below, we have Flora and Ceres.
1. The base. Bases of this form are only found on figure groups that link to Dale. Sometimes the bases are adorned with sprigs and flowers that are exclusive to Dale.
2. The bocage. Dale used three bocage frond forms. None of these is exclusive to Dale, but this bocage is consistent with a Dale attribution.
4. The tigers. Dale--and only Dale-- made tigers from the same molds as the two fierce felines pulling this chariot. Those tigers are recorded with bocages, bases, and bocage flowers that link to Dale. Here, for your delight, is such a tiger, formerly in the stock of John Howard.
I would love to own this chariot, but I can't afford it. Last week we were in the rain forest. A large black spider monkey leaped into our skiff and perched on my husband's knee. As he was wondering what to do about it, I noted a stream flowing down his jeans' leg, on the outside of his calf. Yes, the monkey had answered nature's call! Our guide assured us that this experience would bring luck. So what to do with our new-found 'luck'? I will encourage my husband to buy a lottery ticket this week, and if the luck thing works, I will NOT buy a new car....but a chariot sounds good. Don't hold your breath!
PS: Next week I am away working, so no blog entry till the week after.