- The marbled table bases. While "Sherratt' used multiple bases, this is the most well known. You can find the same figures on other bases, but I think this particular base form dates from after 1827.
- The titling found on the bases is only found on "Sherratt" figures in this style.
- The pretty little floral garlands at the feet of both figures are unique to "Sherratt". Call them signatures, because they are that distinctive.
- The bocage (triple oak leaves with mayflowers) is a typical "Sherratt" bocage.
- The Widow's dress pattern is typical of dress patterns found on other "Sherratt" figures.
So why Elijah & The Widow? The figures depict the Bible story (First Kings 17) telling how Elijah sought a miracle to nourish the poor Widow of Zarephath and her son. The subject was well presented in classical art, and a print may have inspired the Staffordshire figures. Some potters portray Elijah holding sticks, which would be appropriate for the tale. But others prefer to show him with ravens. These birds are connected to an earlier happening in Elijah's life: the BIble tells that ravens fed Elijah while he was in the dessert. Again, Elijah and the Ravens are depicted in classical art and this--or total confusion!-- may have inspired Elijah and his birds.
And lastly, a piece of eye candy. A blog reader kindly sent me this picture, just as I was writing this piece. Don't you love the colorful base? Note that the widow is holding wafers. I believe this is correct because I have seen this modification on another figure on a similar base.