Here is a pair known as the “French Shepherds.” Each smiling figure is a little less than five inches tall, but they give the impression of being much larger because of the astonishing intricacy of detail in the hand-formed porcelain flowers and decorative touches. Those tiny roses were formed petal by petal, by hand, and a whole flower is only an eighth of an inch across. The girl holds her favorite sheep, cuddling up against her chest. She wears a simple gown. The boy has his pet dog to keep him company, and stands in a frock coat and knee britches. They are marked “No 57” on the bottom, and this corresponds to the model number in the Derby Factory’s list of figures. They are pure white porcelain, unglazed, and left undecorated because they came out of the firing in the kiln with no firing specks or damage. The absence of a glaze allows the tiniest detailing to be visible and appreciated. There is some damage: the sheep has lost the end of one front leg and one back leg, and there is a tiny chip to one ear. The boy’s left hand has been replaced, which would have held a ball. Truly these are a feast for the eyes, and every time you return to look at them you will see another minute attraction.
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