Figure of the month

Giaffier and Zuleika

Courtesy Richard Gardner Antiques
March 2022

This figure portrays a highlight in Act I Scene 3 of William Dimond’s dramatised version of Byron’s poem “The Bride of Abydos”.  Mr Barton and Miss Rosa Henry are the actors, and the production was probably that at Astley’s Ampitheatre in London, in April 1847.

The figure is circa 1847 and 12.75 inches high and can be found in Pugh, page E379, figure 60.

Courtesy Richard Gardner Antiques

Who were Giaffier and Zuleika?

In Byron’s poem, Giaffier was a cruel and ruthless ruler in Turkey. His beautiful daughter Zuleika falls in love with Selim, a man adopted by her father as his own son. Selim reveals to Zuleika that his whole family were killed by Giaffier, vowing to revenge them and marry Zuleika. Disguised as a pirate, he ambushes Giaffier but is attacked by the ruler’s men. Selim tries to reach Zuleika, who is waiting for him in a secret location, but he dies on the beach, the fatal blow struck by Giaffier himself. When she hears of this, Zuleika dies of sorrow, leaving Giaffier to live out the rest of his life in solitude and unhappiness.

Dimond found Byron’s ending too gloomy and catastrophic so used a different scene from another of Byron’s poems!

More Figures of the month

Children on Saint Bernard dogs

December 2022

This is a very rare pair of children seated sideways on Saint Bernards.  More common figures have the children laying down or seated facing forward.  Others have the rear arms moulded into the figures, instead of being separately moulded as these are.  These figures are approximately 10” tall and date to around 1840-1850. 

King of Sardinia

November 2022

This is a rare figure of Victor Emmanuel II, the King of Sardinia and later the first King of Italy.  The figure is titled with gold accented raised capitals, stands approximately 12 3/4” tall, and dates to about 1855.  It is probably a Crimean war figure, with Emmanuel being shown in military uniform. 

Bluebeard and Fatima

October 2022

This is a rare figure of Bluebeard and Fatima, approximately 12 1/2” tall, dating to 1858. Bluebeard is easily recognized with his blue beard. He stands upright with a knife in his right hand and left hand on his hip. Fatima is kneeling before Bluebeard with eyes cast upward toward him, hands folded in a prayer-like position.

Napoleon Bonaparte

September 2022

This is a very rare figure of Napoleon Bonaparte, approximately 8 ¼” tall, dating to about 1840.  He stands with arms crossed next to a pedestal with a cloak draped over it.  The base is decorated with an interesting marble effect, and it bears the title “N”. 

Fox and monkey

August 2022

What an interesting figure of a fox and monkey, 4 3/4” tall.  The figure is rare and probably represents one of Aesop’s Fables called “The Fox and the Monkey”. 

It is circa 1840, partially painted in the round, and has a solid base. 

Unidentified man and woman

July 2022

This is an interesting figure of a man and a woman, 7 ½” tall.  It would be unremarkable if not for the head peering out from behind the man’s left leg. 

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