If I were to collect around a 'theme', it would be sheep. Early Staffordshire figures of sheep are charming--and sheep gives so much scope for collecting because many composite figure groups include a scattering of sheep. But I love sheep as stand alone figures. Their enchantingly goofy expressions and varied poses make for infinite collecting possibilities. Last time I had 12 ladies to lunch, I set our dining table formally...and then scattered Staffordshire sheep down its length. Everyone was fascinated.
I bought this little ram from John Shepherd a while ago. The distinctive floral sprig on the base also occurs on figures marked Dale (for John Dale, Burslem).
Anyway, to give you a giggle, I thought I would share this auction listing for a tiny recumbent sheep (actually a ram as it had horns). The figure had long since lost it's bocage, but to the seller this was no problem--rather it was a plus!
"IT'S BROKEN!" Yes, yes, yes and yes… it is. BUTT our Billy Goat Gruff comes honorably to us from child's play. Once Mother guarded "her goat" when it had a little foliage sprig or bud vase behind and above the goat. Once dear children coveted and cried to play… ever so carefully with Billy. "No" said Mother but one day they did and DROPPED Billy and BROKE OFF his floral sprig and… Mother gave up and HAPPILY EVER AFTER Billy the gruff goat, with his broken horn too, was …child's play. Although he may not have been named Billy, we are sure the children named him. We are sure that he held high rank among the speaking toys and was always, always, always included in "everything". Even later when little hands were big enough to have their own children and go off to the Civil War, Billy was still a tender spot of fond remembrance and …was introduced to a new generation who, too, were pleased to make Billy's acquaintance. That's why we found him in the desk draw. He was part of the family, not a piece of "old china". Good condition, as found condition. If one starts new to Billy and looks at him straight on, he shows no damage excepting that after a minutes scrutiny, one might detect that his left ear is gone. Only by turning Billy around… or being intimate with Staffordshire figurines from the get-go… does one discover that… Billy's floral sprig has long been broken off. Some, including all children, will say that not only does Billy "not need" "that" but that he is also "better" without it. Billy certainly displays well for what he is; an old gruff goat. He's charming, very attractive and has a defiant expression that is easy to love and find support in.
A figure you can 'find support in'. Don't you just love it? Therapists, take heed. Time to take your patients shopping...for just the right figure.