Dealers in early Staffordshire pottery repeatedly bemoan the fact that their customers only want to buy "special" figures. Well, if you wanted something special, this beauty at the Buatta sale may have been just up your alley.
The bust of Queen Caroline is reminiscent of the bust below, which portrays her daughter, the ill-fated Princess Charlotte. I suspect that both busts were modeled by the same hand. Some might think that the Sotheby's bust is also Charlotte, but I believe it has been correctly catalogued as Queen Caroline.
I am annoyed at many collectors' insistence on wanting only "special" figures. That word "special" is almost always a genteel way of saying "impressive." The figure must be expensive, important-looking, or large. Sadly, collections assembled for impressiveness come to look rather like each other....shelves filled with the expected figures we all know so well. Admittedly, serious collectors should want to own "special" treasures, but when they focus on these and overlook all else, their collections become very boring.
It is frustrating to see collectors spurning lovely figures in dealers' stock, while simultaneously bemoaning the fact that they can't find anything to buy! For example, Mears and Boyer have a marked pair of Wedgwood figures of SImon and Iphigenia, and if I did not already own a similar marked pair, I would have grabbed them. A menagerie or a bull baiting they are not, but they are important, rare, attractive, and particularly early...and at a price less than you might pay at auction. It took me decades to find my pair. Can someone please explain to me why Mears and Boyer's pair has not yet found a home?
I have only recorded one other example of this musician on this base--in that instance, the base was blue, so not particularly pretty. You may never find this gentleman's companion female figure, but so what? This example stands very well on its own, and it is special, to my way of thinking.
When I started collecting, I wanted to acquire examples of figures I had seen in the few books then available. These were all impressive figures of the sort that today's collectors deem "special." Then, I had a life-changing experience. I visited a UK collection that housed many such "special" figures....but scattered generously throughout were many others. That collection was a living entity. Its owner had imbued it with his intellectual curiosity---and it inspired my collecting journey.
I correspond with several collectors who have assembled really interesting collections of figures in all price ranges---some bought for their sheer beauty, others because of their superb quality, or simply because they are interesting for one reason or another ( a maker's mark, a rare or unusual model, an attribution, or a reflection of history). I relish seeing these collections grow, and could spend hours perusing their contents. If your collection is all "big hat and no cattle," you are missing out--but it's never too late to set that right.