Figures of Jobson and Nell can be awful, and the subject hardly oozes charm. There are plenty of mundane examples (as the Internet has, fortunately or unfortunately, taught us)--hence the bad reputation. But to be fair, some Jobson and Nell pairs are simply lovely. This pair in the stock of Andrew Dando is, I think, as good as they get. There's nothing not to like here.
This pair alongside is in the Potteries Museum. Same pair again? Definitely not! Whereas the first pair (like most pairs) is about 6.5 inches, this pair is over 13 inches. Yes, Jobson and Nell were made in two sizes. The larger size is particularly uncommon--and this is a superb example.
Who are Jobson and Nell? Jobson is a lowly cobbler and Nell is his sweet wife. They starred in The Devil to Pay or, The Wives Metamorphos'd, a
ballad farce first performed in 1731. Revivals were popular on the English stage
into the nineteenth century. A performance was staged at Covent Garden as late as 1828, and even children's books drew from the theme and illustrated Jobson and Nell (see below for a page from a book published in 1825).