Parian ware, a form of bisque porcelain meant to mimic marble, was being simultaneously developed by a number of pottery companies in the early 1840s in England, including Copeland and Minton. In fact, the Copeland factory first named its version, “Statuary Porcelain,” in 1842.
The potteries were in a rush to have this new invention of faux marble exhibited at The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations of 1851, which was the forerunner of future World’s Fairs. The judges at the Exhibition could not award any one firm for the invention of Parian ware as too many had been working on it at the same time.
The reason for all this excitement about the ware was that it could imitate marble at a fraction of the cost. Parian could be prepared in liquid form and then cast in a mold. Mass production of items that might have been carved in marble, such as busts, figurines and even dishes and small vases, could now be made available to everyone.
This rare and superb Parian piece, possibly Copeland or Minton but unmarked, features two King Charles spaniels, the breed made so popular by Queen Victoria. It is no wonder these dogs are shown resting on a plump, tasseled cushion, just as the Queen’s dog Dash was famously depicted by Sir Edward Landseer.
There is a braided trim running around the pillow’s entire girth with large tassels hanging in all four corners that serve to support the whole piece. The tassels look remarkably real.
We have no strong colors here to remark upon as this piece is dependent on more subtler forms of beauty in terms of beauty in terms of form, detail and quality. In any case, this piece demands careful study.
The condition is excellent, especially considering its age and fragility. It shows only a small amount of wear.
It measures 7 inches wide, 5-1/2 inches deep and 4-3/4 inches high.