In March 1999, my husband and I bought our "Death of Munrow". Of course, this was a major purchase, and the next day the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared above 10,000 for the first time. While global markets were celebrating, my inner voice questioned whether my purchase had been foolish. Each dollar spent on Munrow would double in a few years if left in the stock market, and then double again.......suddenly the real cost of Munrow seemed enormous. What an impact those funds would have on our retirement account, if only I didn't have this addiction to pot!
Fast forward 9+ years to this week, when the Dow again crossed 10,000....on the way down this time, with no end yet in sight. As I write, it sits at 8380! Amidst the financial turmoil, the commanding tiger holding Munrow in his jaws is a constant pleasure. His value has increased significantly, but, more importantly, he has given us a decade of pleasure. And he reminds me that when we buy figures we are not spending money, just transferring our assets.
"The Death of Munrow" (W: 14") commemorates the savaging of Lt. Hugh Munro, while hunting in India in 1792. The figure is modeled after a life size automaton, today in the V&A. The automaton is known as Tippoo's Tiger because it once belonged to the Indian Sultan, Tipu. Tipu probably had the automaton made to celebrate the death of Lt. Munro, because Tipu believed that the British officer's "death by tiger" (the tiger was Tipu's personal symbol) foretold Tipu's conquest of the British army. But alas for Tipu, he got it wrong! In 1799 he fell to the British; the automaton was shipped back to England and it went on display from 1808, thereby inspiring earthenware Death of Munrows. Read the full story in Schkolne, Myrna: People, Passions, Pastimes & Pleasures: Staffordshire Figures 1810-1835".