This week, I posted a figure of Simon onto Facebook. The figure is in the stock of Aurea Carter and it is most unusual. I had never seen Simon with a bocage before.
Simon (spelled Cymon) is the hero in The Decameron, a novella set in Cyprus and written around 1350 by Giovanni Boccaccio. The narrative tells of Cymon who, deemed a dolt by his aristocratic father, is sent to live and work with his father’s slaves in the countryside. In this environment, Cymon became increasingly coarse. One day, Cymon came upon highborn Iphigenia, slumbering in a field. He was so smitten by her beauty that his noble bearing surfaced and his father reinstated him. Iphigenia was promised to another, but this tale of wars and abduction in the name of love ended happily with Cymon and Iphigenia united for life. In 1700, John Dryden published his Fables, Ancient and Modern, containing the story as a poem.
The figure of Simon is modeled from the figure Paul Louis Cyfflé made for Lunéville. But what of Iphigenia? Yes, she too exists in earthenware, and she, like Simon, is not that common, especially if you are wanting an enamel-painted version. Andrew Dando had one some years ago, and this example is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Those of you in the UK, don't forget the NEC show is on this week. Envy, envy. I wish I could go, but I wish you happy shopping.