I approach this topic with trepidation because I fear boring you.....but we REALLY need to start talking about these things, so here goes.
Making sense of the vast number of early Staffordshire figures requires sorting them into Groups. Clearly, each Group of figures must have multiple common features--rather like a group of people from the same family. With people, we look for resemblances in eye color, noses, body shapes...but with figures, the most obvious place to start is with the bocage. Each pot bank used its own small range of bocages. Some of the bocages might have been very like those used by neigboring pot banks. Others were specific to only one pot bank.....and these "exclusive" bocages are so helpful in linking figures that share a common origin.
In this post, we will be looking at the holly bocage. This is what it looks like on a pair of figures of a mower and a haymaker.
The Patriotic Group is big. In other words, the unknown potbank that made figures with holly bocages turned out lots and lots of figures-- and it used several different bocages. Here you see our mower and haymaker again....but with different bocages.
This family group below also has a holly bocage, and I am certain this happy family can also be attributed to the Patriotic Group.
Lest you think the plot ends here, think again. Both figures above have sprigs on their bases that are specific to the Patriotic Group. But that's for another time. The point is that once we start linking figure that share common features, things gel. It doesn't take too long to discover which features are exclusive to a Group--and then we can go about identifying additional figures from that same Group.