Figure of the month

The Vicar and Moses

August 2019

Myrna Schkolne in Volume 2 of her book “Staffordshire Figures 1780-1840”, has Chapter 109 entitled Religious Officials and Observers. She makes the point that the Church of England clergy in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were high living at that time and were ready targets for ridicule. They were high living as many came from very wealthy families. The eldest son took the title and family estate whilst a younger son often became a priest or a vicar. As always the Staffordshire potter was quick to pick up on that.
There are in fact two pieces that are commonly referred to as The Vicar and Moses, but these pictures are of the piece which was modelled on William Hogarth’s illustration entitled the Sleeping Congregation, first published in 1736. It is also known as The Parson and Clerk. This piece portrays the parson dozing in the pulpit whilst the clerk earnestly addresses the congregation.

The Sleeping Congregation (1728/9), William Hogarth

This particular model will be early nineteenth century. What is interesting about this particular piece is that it has no base (nor appears ever to have had a base) which allows the collector to see how the Parson and Clerk were made and fixed within the model of the pulpit.

Base of the Vicar and Moses figure, showing construction

This model is illustrated in Myrna Schkolne’s book ref fig109.8 page 258. The height is 8.9”.
Acknowledgement:  Myrna Schkolne, Staffordshire Figures 1780-1840 Volume 2
This figure forms part of the private collection of Alan Sturrock.

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. 


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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