The Victorian Staffordshire Figure
Author: Anthony Oliver
Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd
Pages: 192 pages
ISBN: ISBN-10: 043454390X ISBN-13: 9780434543908
Described as “A Guide For Collectors”, this lovely book is filled both with useful information and with beautiful illustrations in both black and white and full colour, going far beyond a description of the forms of this engaging folk art. Oliver weaves an enchanting picture of the various aspects of everyday life in Victorian England which inspired the production of Staffordshire figures.
A very large range of figures are illustrated, accompanied with details on who designed them, and where the ideas for the figures came from. In several cases, the magazine print or engraving which was the source for the design is shown alongside the figure.
The book illuminates how quickly potters responded to popular subjects and news, giving existing figures new topical titles to appeal to an enthusiastic public. Oliver also reveals the social history of Staffordshire pottery, the lives of the potters and their techniques of production, with original quotations and contemporary depictions of the processes involved. Much of the information comes from the Report of the Royal Commission on Children’s Employment in Industry of 1843 – which reported on adult employment as well – a unique window into the everyday life and opinions of the early Victorian working class.
This book is a valuable guide to collecting, what is good, what is fake, and how to tell a repro from the real thing.