Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ye Olde Staffordshire Animals

One home accessory I love is the Staffordshire dog. In fact, I love all of the various types of Staffordshire animals that were produced in England in the 1800's (although, as you will see, the pieces actually were made from the 1700's up until 1960).  Reproductions today are abundant, and mostly inexpensive but there are many fakes out there, claiming to be the real thing.  There are ways to tell whether one is a fake or not. 

Most people know what a Staffordshire dog figurine looks like, but many types of animals were produced along with many other figurines.  They have a history to tell.  

Staffordshire Potteries is a generic term that applies to a large number of independently owned factories located in the northern part of Staffordshire County, about 150 miles NW of London.  The area was rich in clay and coal, two ingredients needed to make pottery. 

The Early and Mid Victorian period ran from 1837 to 1875 and the Late Victorian period is from 1875 to 1900. The Kent period is from 1890 to 1960. Pratt ware figures were made from 1780 to 1840. Almost all of the figures were made from molds which were glazed and colored afterwards by hand.  The more rare the figurine the higher the cost. 

(photos are from

Many of the animals were sold in pairs.  

(photos from Pinterest)

Sometimes the Staffordshire spaniels are referred to as "comforter dogs" and are often modeled after the King Charles Spaniel.

Here is a great list of books on the subject:

1929 - Herbert Read, Staffordshire Pottery Figures
1955 - R G Haggar, Staffordshire Chimney Ornaments
1970 - PD Gordon Pugh, Staffordshire Portrait Figures of the Victorian Era
1970 - Anthony Oliver, The Victorian Staffordshire Figure
1990 - Clive Mason Pope, A-Z of Staffordshire Dogs, A Potted History
1991 - Pat Halfpenny, English Earthenware Figures 1740-1840
1997 - Adele Kenny, Staffordshire Spaniels
1998 - A. & N. Harding, 'Victorian Staffordshire Figures 1835-1875' Books 1 and 2
2000 - A. & N. Harding, 'Victorian Staffordshire Figures 1835-1875' Book 3,
2003 - A. & N. Harding, 'Victorian Staffordshire Figures 1875-1962 Book 4
2008 - Myrna Schkolne, People, Passions, Pastimes and Pleasures. Staffordshire Figures 1810-1835

So next time you are wondering around in an antique store, I hope you'll now know the provenance of these historical figurines!  Happy Thursday.

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