1. The pink flowers with twelve petals (arranged 6 long alternating with 6 short). You can see a close-up of a Dale flower below. I have only encountered these flowers on Dale figures and on three marked enamel-painted Tittensor figures (which happen to be the only enamel bocage Tittensor figures currently known.) Dale routinely painted these flowers pink with yellow centers, whereas Tittensor did not.
3. The socket bocage. The straight line at the back shows where the bocage was made separately and then placed into a socket. This too is a recurring Dale feature. (Click here to read a previous blog posting on the subject.)
At the same time, I didn't forget about this deer. I very much hoped that someone would see it and be willing to love it as it is. I was so happy to see it sold. It is a piece of pottery history and should be preserved respectfully.
And this gets us back to the question of value. What should something like this deer be worth? Surely more than £35, I think. But, in reality, it isn't. That's because it is not readily sellable in its current state. The cost of restoring is high....and that bocage can't be restored well enough. Even if restored, the figure is a deer, and deer abound in Staffordshire pottery. So you see why, in this case, rarity, sadly, does not equate with value.
I have one or two figures in my collection that have lost their bocages, and in each case the stump has been rounded and painted. I really think this is the way to go with major bocage loss. If I owned this deer, I think I would have restored the ears and touched the raw bocage edges with green. For relatively little money, I would have preserved the piece and it would give me much pleasure. But taking it to the restorer...the end result would be a lot of money and just another tarted-up deer nobody would want.
On the topic of value, please start accumulating my new four-volume work. I ask this not to make money because my royalty is next to nothing. But I am grateful to Schiffer Publishing for allowing collectors to have this fantastic reference...and at a bargain price. Talk about value! Staffordshire Figures 1780-1840 vol. 1 is available now, and vol. 2 will be out shortly, with the last two volumes available later in the year, I am told. You can buy the books from any bookseller or from www.hotlanepress.com.