True pairs of these pieces in good or excellent condition are on the rare side today. They usually date to around 1880, although the provenance that comes with this pair hints at an earlier date of manufacture. The reference book, “Victorian Staffordshire Figures, 1835-1875,” by the Hardings, shows similar examples of cows on page 240.
Provenance on Staffordshire pieces is also a rarity, especially as almost none were given factory marks. On the bottom of the left model in this pair is a hand-written note detailing its history of ownership. I discovered a folded piece of paper inside the spill of one of them that more legibly summarizes this history. It was done on a typewriter, perhaps in the 1960s or so.
Here is what the typewritten history says: “This pair of cows was bought in Sunderland in September 1907 from a furniture dealer. He had bought them a short time before from an old woman in Pulwell, nr. Sunderland. She paid 12/ - (shillings?) for them about 1887 from an old man of 75. He had had them in his possession since he was a youth and said that they belonged to his great
grandfather.” The handwritten information glued onto the bottom left piece differs slightly from the later typewritten version, but it is interesting to know that the family felt that the cows were important enough family heirlooms to retain this information.
In any case, they are wonderful examples of large cow and calf spill vases. They are traditionally painted in a reddish brown enamel, with green spills and gray streams. The gilding on the faces of both cows is still evident, which is rare.
The condition of the pair is excellent for its age and type. There is a slight amount of expected faint crazing, mostly on the left figure. The tip of one horn on the right cow has a very small old chip. The gilding on the base of the left cow is worn. There is still a deep blue glaze present on both figures that has helped protect them over the years.
They are about 9-1/2 inches wide at their bases. The left is slightly taller at 11-3/8 inches, while the right figure is 11-1/4 inches high.
Pair of 19th Century Victorian Staffordshire Cow with Calf Spill Vases
$750 21% Off
You save $155