When I saw a photo of this figure, I just knew I HAD to have it. In these tough times, all of us are cutting back somewhere. I will cut back everywhere...but not on special figures. And this particular figure was on my Wish List. Note I use upper case letters for the Wish List! Figures that make it onto the List are super special. I don't want to have a collection of figures stacked three deep on shelves and locked within cupboards. I want each figure to be significant to me. I want to know exactly where it stands in my home, I want to look at it often, and I want it looking good whenever my eye goes its way.
So why did this figure make the Wish List? I have seen two photos in books--Hanley Museum's version is one--of figure from these molds. Although the photos are black and white, the figures still blew me a way. Both figures are marked Neale &Co, for Jame Neale who potted in Hanley between about 1780 and 1790. Neale enamels are superb. So gently soft and sweet. I could only imagine what the figure looked like in color!
So when I got the picture I am sharing with you and had my first glimpse of this piper, in glorious Neale enamels, I was quite overcome. Yes, it was marked, yes it was perfect (aside from a slight nick at the end of the pipe which simply does not count.) And of course I wanted it...really badly. The Pottery Gods were on my side and this piper will become an American citizen for the next span of his life. I am so happy to have him. I know he will always delight me. And perhaps one day I will find his mate.
Staffordshire figure of a piper, pearlware, marked NEALE & CO. Circa 1785.