- Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 08:22
- Published on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 08:22
- Hits: 518
This pair of Staffordshire lions belongs to a family in the lower Northern Neck. One has an indistinct mark on the bottom, and both are in excellent condition.
In the first place, careful examination reveals that the two are not a genuine pair. The base molding is slightly different, and the coloring is a bit off for them to be a true pair. That being said, they go well together, and certainly should be treated as a pair.
The indistinct mark also tells us that they probably date from the end of the nineteenth century. If, indeed, the mark reads “England”, we can be certain that they are after 1891. Lions were perhaps the most popular animals made by the Staffordshire potteries, save for the ubiquitous dogs, which remain quite in demand.
The lion was the symbol of the British Empire, which under Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901, controlled almost one-fourth of the landmass of the world. The lion rampant represented all of the power and dignity of the Empire, upon which the sun never set. Responding to that popular image, the Staffordshire potters produced lion figurines in droves, these two representing one aspect of that production.
The earlier figures command higher prices at auction, but these two, treated as a pair, would bring $400. They reflect great modeling ability on the part of the potter, and a fine hand on that of the decorator who painted them.
Staffordshire is not as commanding on the market as it was a generation ago. In part, the change is attributable to the decline in the overall economy, and in part to the ever-changing tastes of the public at large. These are fine pieces, and although the market for them is deflated at present, its day surely will return.