Enoch Wood (1759-1840) potted on his own from 1783-1790 and marked his wares with his name in that period. From 1791-1818, he was in partnership with James Caldwell; wares marked in that period state WOOD & CALDWELL. After 1818, Enoch Wood was in partnership with his sons, and any mark reflects that relationship. So Enoch Wood's name appears on its own only between 1783 and 1790.
- Enoch Wood marked his wares E. WOOD, not ENOCH WOOD. So the mark we see on the figure is not correct.
- The enamel colors on this figure are not in the typical palette for the Enoch Wood period. Rather, they exhibit the strong yellows and turquoises occurring more than a century later.
So what really happened here? This figure was made by the Kent factory some time between 1890 and 1962. The Kent catalog listed this figure, and some editions even illustrated it. I don't believe Kent marked the figure ENOCH WOOD. That was done by someone else, I suspect.
Did Enoch Wood make a figure like this? He certainly did. We know this because a large shard from very similar figure of St. Sebastian was excavated in Burslem in the 1900s. It was part of a cache that Enoch Wood had buried within the walls of St. Paul's Church in 1828. Over a century later, the time capsule helped us attribute the figure form to Enoch Wood. If this was not proof enough, the shard matches a St. Sebastian figure marked E. WOOD that is in a private collection. Clearly, that figure was made well before 1828--in fact, it was made between 1783 and 1790.
I know of only one other early Staffordshire figure of St. Sebastian. Frankly, despite its rarity, this figure is far from appealing. The original, early figure has impressed on the front S. SEBASTI O.M. Possibly it was made for the continental market (could someone please tell me what O.M. means??) and perhaps even in its time it was not popular with English consumers.
This story has a good ending. The dealer who had this figure on his site removed it very promptly when he discovered it was not what he had thought it to be. A Prince of a man. He has--temporarily at least--restored my faith in mankind:).