Each to his own, but I find busts rather grotesque.....yes, there are one or two that I covet, but the rest are not for me. That being said, I am wow-ed by the quality of the pearlware bust of the Rev. John Wesley that was sold at Northeast Auctions this weekend.
Photographs of bust of the Rev. John Wesley from web site of Northeast Auctions.
The gentleman in question is the Rev. John Wesley, the father of the Methodist movement. Many of Staffordshire's potters were Methodists--the mainstream Church of England in that day was less accommodating of the needs of the lower classes--and Wesley visited the Potteries on many occasions. The men and women who made the Staffordshire figures we collect clearly loved Wesley, because there are more busts of Wesley than any other person. Every potter seems to have had his 'version'. But the bust above is the Daddy of them all. Modeled with exquisite attention to detail, it is the work of that master modeller and potter, Enoch Wood. And a medallion on the back attests to this.
The medallion molded on the socle reverse reads "THE REV.D JOHN WESLEY M.A., DIED MAR 2, 1791, AGED 88. ENOCH WOOD SCULP., BURSLEM." The bust is pearlware, height is12 ¼ inches.
Factoid: The Methodist movement remained part of the Church of England throughout Wesley's life. He refused to separate from his beloved church. Only after his death did Methodists become independent of the national church.