It's been a long, dry summer for collectors of early Staffordshire pottery figures. Very little new or exciting has come to market, and that doesn't seem likely to change soon. The most important figure group available is, of course, in the stock of John Howard, and what a stunner it is. This group, decorated under the glaze, was made by the potter Charles Tittensor, who is known for his weirdly wonderful creations.
Tittensor figures are especially rare and expectedly expensive. John's group is particularly remarkable in that it comprises four figures that are otherwise found in two separate pairings. The musicians below are the very same couple found seated on the left of John's large group.
The shepherds on the right of John's group are otherwise recorded as a twosome, shown below. Note that the figures have switched positions.
John's group is impressed TITTENSOR four times on the reverse. Three of the marks are on the side of the group portraying the shepherds, and I was interested to see that the marks are in exactly the same spots on both the 4-figure group and the 2-figure group. This tells me that Tittensor did not reach for a stamp and mark his work after he had made it. Instead, the marks were integral to the molds he used to form each figure group. Oh, the little factoids that delight too-serious collectors!
Tittensor figures require quite sophisticated taste. They certainly don't fit the bill for those who prefer their figures cute. Prize for the most imaginative goes to this remarkable Tittensor group. Yes, the same shepherd and shepherdess, but this time with oversized farm animals. Quite something, isn't it? What was Tittensor thinking?
Even in dry spells, I find fascinating features on relatively ordinary figures. What could be more ordinary than a lone pearlware Widow, yet the addition of a date boldly painted on the base of this Widow makes her noteworthy. Oh, had all potters painted a date somewhere on their figures!
If anything could be more run-of-the-mill than a pearlware widow, it has to be a pearlware figure of Charity. Don't knock them though! Because they are so "ordinary," lovely examples often can be had at give-away prices. I have a dozen or so arranged on individual little wall brackets on my office wall, and I am always open to adding more. Something unusual on this example caught my eye. Any idea what it might be?
It's the object in her hand. I have no idea what it is, but it resembles a flower or vegetable of sorts. Again, what was the potter thinking?
This widow, again with that mystery object in hand, is currently in a set in the stock of new dealer John Cockburn, so visit his shop, Pickleherring, at http://www.antiquebritishpottery.com/
Lastly, do check in at Moorabool Antiques in Australia, where Paul Rosenberg is offering an astounding array of ceramic objects, including early figures, at his Exhibition that commences on October 5.https://moorabool.com/
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