In the pantheon of world literature, Shakespeare stands alone, but in this case he’s standing next to John Milton, a similarly great English poet. Each man has a scroll with a quotation: Shakespeare’s from The Tempest, the “cloud capp’d towers” speech by Prospero, and Milton’s “Into the heaven of heavens” line from Paradise Lost. The plinth next to Shakespeare shows some of the British monarchs mentioned in his plays, and the column next to Milton shows Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden from Paradise Lost. They are the large size, nine and three-quarters inches high, and wear elaborately gilt jackets but otherwise very simple colors. In the early 19th century Derby tried to pass off some of their figures as by Meissen, so these bear the Meissen crossed swords mark in blue, but they are undoubtedly Derby since they have the correct factory inventory numbers on the bottom. Shakespeare is in near-perfect condition, even the gilding, and Milton is too except that his hand with the scroll has been neatly reattached. (It was first repaired using a metal staple, but that was removed and a modern restoration done.) He has a repaired chip on a back corner of the base. Note that this set is quite a bit larger than the other Derby set of Milton and Shakespeare I have for sale.

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Laureate Antiques

Derby Figures: Milton and Shakespeare C1810


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