Figure of the month

The Legend of Gelert the Dog

July 2019

One of the best known and loved folk-tales in Wales is the story of a faithful hound, and the Staffordshire potters were as always, quick to capitalise on this sad and poignant tale.

​The story goes that in the thirteenth-century, Prince Llywelyn the Great had a palace at Beddgelert in Caernarvonshire, North Wales. The Prince was a keen hunter, and spent much of his time in the surrounding countryside. He had many hunting dogs, but one day when he summoned them as usual with his horn, his favourite dog Gelert didn’t appear, so regretfully Llywelyn had to go hunting without him.

When Llywelyn returned from the hunt he was greeted by Gelert who came bounding towards him… his jaws dripping with blood. The Prince was appalled, and a horrible thought came into his mind… was the blood on the dog’s muzzle that of his one-year old son? His worst fears were realised when he saw in the child’s nursery, an upturned cradle and walls spattered with blood! He searched for the child but there was no sign of him. Llywelyn was convinced that his favourite hound had killed his son.

Mad with grief he took his sword and plunged it into Gelert’s heart. As the dog howled in death, Llywelyn heard a child’s cry coming from underneath the upturned cradle. It was his son, unharmed! Beside the child was an enormous wolf, dead, killed by the brave Gelert. Llywelyn was struck with remorse and carried the body of his faithful dog outside the castle walls and buried him where everyone could see the grave of this brave animal, and hear the story of his valiant fight with the wolf. To this day, a cairn of stones marks the place, and the name Beddgelert means in Welsh ‘The grave of Gelert’. Every year thousands of people visit the grave of this brave dog.

More Figures of the month

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. 

Titania

June 2022

This is a very rare figure of a woman in full length dress and a floral headband, standing 8 ½” tall.  She holds a wand in her right hand and a posy in her left. 

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