Poodles actually originated as sporting dogs called “Pudlehunds” in Germany for their ability to retrieve even in cold water. They eventually came over to England, where their good temperaments, high intelligence, sporting skills and entertainment qualities made them extremely popular pets. I was surprised to learn that it was the English, and not the French, who went mad with using clippers on them to create the “foo-foo” look. In any case, the porcelain factories did not get around to creating models of them until the 1820s. Many of these factories created their pretty poodles to sell along with their dish sets and other household items.
Porcelain animals, especially dogs, were popular cabinet pieces. This charming example of a poodle lying down on a yellow mound with a duck secure under his front paws, appeared from around 1830 to 1850. It closely resembles a number of Samuel Alcock pieces illustrated in the chapter on poodles in Dennis Rice’s “Dogs in English Porcelain of the 19th Century.” But as a great number of factories produced poodles, styles were often “borrowed” from one another.
There is a lot of porcelain to the clay in this piece, which makes for much finer modeling of the separate legs and the handsome appearance. Our poodle has a large mane and a moderate poof at the end of his tail. With his prize safely tucked under his paws, he has a self-satisfied expression. The soft yellow-painted base under the glaze is still very pretty in a subtle way.
This piece has been restored on both front paws. There is a separation in the back of the dog where the molding took place. There is some loss to the gilt line around the base, but this is very common in a lot of porcelain figures. Otherwise, this piece is really in excellent condition for its age of about 175 years. My experience with porcelain dogs is that because of their more breakable nature, it is unusual to find any without either some previous restoration or in need of restoration.
It measures 2-1/2 inches high, 3-1/2 wide and about 1-7/8 deep.
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