There was something totally irresistible about this piece of Staffordshire pottery. The dog is in an adorable pose, even with a small bird hanging from his mouth. It’s almost as if he is bringing to his owner a gift offering.
As far as the breed, my guess would be Pomeranian, which derives from nordic Spitz dogs, which were popular at the time this piece was modelled. It dates to about 1840. I have come across many early Victorian oil paintings featuring Spitz dogs, including one by the well-known 19th century dog painter, George Armfield.
Some pieces of Staffordshire often had a lot of porcelain to the clay, which produced a finer example of the figure, as in this piece. Although small in stature, it packs a large decorative wallop. It certainly spoke, or should I say, barked, to me.
The piece itself is modeled mostly in white, but the eyes are dark blue and the nose has two dark red nostrils. The bird is decorated with gilt on the wings, tail and back. There is also a wide gilt line around the base, as well as corners of what appears to be a tasseled cushion that the dog is standing on. The cushion has a slight overall pattern that can be discerned if you look closely.
The condition is very good, especially for its type and age of some 176 years. The bird and tip of the nose and both ears of the dog have had minor professional restoration. There are two tiny frits on the bottom edge of the stand. In general, though, the piece is of exceptionally high quality.
It measures 3-3/4 inches wide, 1-5/8 inches deep, and 2-3/4 inches high.
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