Large Parian bust of the Scottish gentleman John Wilson . Marked for the fine Worcester firm Kerr & Binns, circa 1855. He is middle-aged man, with finely molded long hair and mutton-chop side burns. His only clothing is a loosely draped top that leaves his neck and some chest exposed. Very good "as found" condition with no damage or repairs, just a little dirty, I will clean him better if desired. Very high quality Victorian Parian. 11" tall x 7" wide x 4 5/8" base diameter.
Heading : W H Kerr & Co Worcester Parian bust of John Wilson Date : c1855 Period : Victorian Origin : England - Worcester Colour : White Body : Professor John Wilson set on a plinth base. W H Kerr & Co Worcester blue seal mark, signed script Sc as shown. Material Type : Parian porcelain Size : Approx. 7 7/8 inches tall and approx. 5 5/8 inches in diameter Condition : Excellent, no chips or cracks Restoration : None Weight : 2225 grams
W H Kerr & Co Worcester, Following a fire in 1852 two Irishmen, Richard William Binns (1819–1900) and William Henry Kerr (1823–1879) took over the management of the Chamberlain & Co porcelain works in Severn Street, Worcester. Parian, a new type of porcelain, received great attention when first displayed at the London, Great Exhibition of 1851. It is intended to imitate marble. Introduced at Worcester in 1853, Parian only needed one firing to produce a cleanable material with a matt finish. Parian was used to make small versions of Classical sculpture, moral subjects were popular alongside national heroes such as John Wilson
John Wilson of Elleray (1785 -1854) was born in Paisley, Scotland. Known today as a Scottish advocate, literary critic and author his admirers most commonly associate him with ‘Christopher North’ a character he created to emulate himself in his Blackwood works.
Educated at the University of Glasgow and then Magdalen College, Oxford. By age 22 he became his own master with a degree although due to his families wealth he had no need to work; instead he spent some years in Windermere living in an estate called Elleray which has since been connected to his name. There he (like any unsupervised rich young man) did whatever he liked, fishing, boating, shooting, but more important to his legacy this is where he began his poetry and other writings.
After naively leaving his fortune in the hands of a dishonest uncle his fortunes subsequently changed, as did his incentives. Forced to leave his house and return to his mother’s home in Edinburgh he set to work on a new volume of poems and began to study law. He was then elected into the Faculty of Advocates in 1815. Among other popular publications he became the principal writer for Blackwood's and was said to have been ‘the making of the magazine’. While working at Blackwood's he produced a series of 71 imaginary colloquies together with other writers such as James Hogg and John Gibson Lockhart (best known for his works between 1825 and 1835). This is where he was exalted for his expressive Scots dialogue, wonderfully various digressions of criticism and convivial manor of writing.
In 1820 he was unexpectedly elected to the chair of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, believed to be the best man for the job in all of the United Kingdom, such was his fame. Wilsons Tory connections and powerful backing from friends, at the head of which was Sir Walter Scott, helped push his ideals, writings and position. An excellent professor of his day he is renowned for inspiring generations, never attaining any great scientific knowledge in his subject he was prised for instead having a vast overall understanding, his moral character said to be irreproachable. He was left plenty time to continue his magazine and poetry works eventually spending his later years between Edinburgh and Elleray, passing away in 1854.