Various sources of the origins for this depiction of a Newfoundland saving a child from drowning by pulling it by its nightshirt have been found. The sense of sentimentality and heroism that was savored in the Victorian period is captured in this piece. There have been paintings, plates and even a play that depicted these qualities in “rescue dogs,” according to G.D. Pugh, author of “Staffordshire Portrait Figures of the Victorian Era.” The author includes a photo of a similar piece as Figure 47 on page 526 of his book.
This Victorian depiction is a finely modeled and well-painted representation of this popular theme. The dog has a separate head with a wide-open mouth as it is pulling on the child’s shirt. There is an arched bridge with small stairs and a pretty flowering vine winding up the bridge. The dog is hunched over the bridge in its effort to save the child from the water below. The spill was made to resemble a tree, with branches and small tufts of leaves at the ends. The dog was finely painted with hand-done feathering brushstrokes around each large spot.
The polychrome colors are still bright. The thick blue glaze has helped conserve the piece and give it a wonderfully lustrous appearance. This model dates to around 1855.
This piece is in excellent, unrestored condition. There is one small nibble on the glaze on the bottom edge that appears to be a kiln effect. A small piece of bocage is missing near the top, that upon close inspection was under the thick glaze, which means it was a factory firing fault.
It is a model on the rarer side that doesn’t often come up at all, let alone of this quality and condition. It is a beautiful piece that came from a large private collection.
It measures about 8 inches high and 5-3/4 inches at its widest point.
Mid-19th Century Staffordshire "Rescue Dog" and Child Spill Vase
$145 $265 SALE