What utter nonsense! Where do I start to pull this opinion apart?
Why add to our collective ignorance by speculating wildly as to the identity of the bust? Why not simply leave it as unidentified?
The "Staffordshire ceramics expert" is misguided on yet another issue: NOTHING supports her statement that "canny potters often left the names off figures so that the subject matter did not deter customers." Why would potters have made figures that they thought might deter their customers? Rather, I suggest that potters simply didn't bother titling figures when they thought the identity was obvious.
And what of the same untitled figure being "variously described as St. Paul Preaching at Athens, Eloquence, and Demosthenes"?
Enoch Wood and his contemporary potters knew full well that the large figure group shown alongside was Demosthenes, and their customers knew so too. Had you suggested otherwise then, you would have been laughed out the room. Remember, the classics then was the cornerstone of education, and the imagery on the pillar clearly indicates Demosthenes's identity You can read all about it here: http://www.mystaffordshirefigures.com/blog/whats-in-a-name
Recently, a UK collector contacted me about a large, important pearlware figure, made circa 1810. Its look-alike---and the only other example on record--is in Brighton Museum's Willett Collection. Not knowing what he had, he took his figure to a UK museum that houses one of the most important collections of Staffordshire pottery in the world. After examining it, the curator informed him that he had looked in the Harding books on Victorian figures, could not find anything similar, and concluded that the figure might be continental!! Read that again, please. A pearlware figure oozing with all the features of a pre-Victorian English figure is taken to a British museum and is considered to be continental! To add insult to injury, the Willett figures is pictured in my Staffordshire Figures 1780-1840, which I donated to that museum, and it is also in Stella Beddoe's A Potted History, which should be in that museum's library.
I am a bitterly disillusioned collector. I retain faith in one museum curator, and perhaps two or three auctions houses. I am as disillusioned with the trade, where various degrees of stupidity and dishonesty routinely rub shoulders. But none of that spoils my enjoyment of early figures.
Last month, I managed to complete a pair of "Sherratt" London Cryers. It has only taken me fifteen years to achieve this! My path, of course, was convoluted. I started with a female figure in 2004, and many years later I found a male to keep her company. The problem with this pairing, as you see, is that the female was made with a bocage, and the male without, so they were rather an odd couple.
I know of only one other pair of London Cryers. They belong to a friend and are shown in Staffordshire Figures 1780-1840 Volume 2, chapter 30.