Figure of the month

The Legend of the Parson and his Clerk (circa 1820-30)

March 2020

Many versions of this story exist but the most commonly told tale is that the Bishop of Exeter fell ill and came to Dawlish in the county of Devon to restore his health. However, an ambitious local parson aimed to succeed to the See (the bishop’s office) in the event of his superior’s demise.

The parson’s guide was his clerk and they often made the journey to check on the condition of the bishop. One night in a terrible storm, whilst crossing Haldon Moor they lost their way and found themselves miles from the correct path. The parson in his frustration abused his clerk with the words “I would rather have the devil himself, than you, for a guide.”

At that moment a horseman rode by and volunteered to be their guide.

After a few miles, they came across a brilliantly lit mansion and were invited by their guide to enter and partake of his hospitality. They enjoyed a sumptuous repast and in the midst of the merriment, the news arrived that the bishop was dead. Eager to secure his chance for promotion the parson prepared to leave, together with the clerk and the guide – but the horses refused to move. After liberal use of his whip and spurs the parson cried “Devil take the brutes!” upon which the guide exclaimed “Thank you, Sir!“ and shouted “Gee up!”. The horses galloped over the cliff, carrying the parson and the clerk with them. The devil turned them both to stone, facing forever seaward, monuments to greed and disappointed ambition.

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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