Here are a matching pair of two early—and large—Derby figures, one of Fame blowing her horn and her companion Mercury holding aloft a money bag with a bound parcel at his feet. A similar pair is illustrated on page 150 of Bradshaw’s book, “Derby Porcelain Figures.” Mercury, also known as Hermes, was a godling juvenile delinquent who stole Apollo’s cattle because he didn't respect private property. When he was caught, he cleverly offered Apollo his lyre in exchange for the cattle, and then convinced Jupiter to appoint him as the official divine messenger. Jupiter agreed, for reasons all his own, and gave Mercury a helmet for raingear, winged sandals for speed, and a staff of office that became the caduceus we use as the emblem of all physicians—a staff with two snakes twining around it. Fame has a less adventurous back-story and is more a personification than a deity, but here she’s portrayed as an angel with her cheeks puffed out blowing a long horn. Both god and goddess are seen striding through the clouds gathered at their feet. Well, Mercury is probably flying because he has his winged feet, and Fame should also be flying, but unfortunately she is missing her wings. Also, Mercury’s caduceus has been entirely replaced, and Fame’s trumpet, originally metal, has gone missing and is replaced by a wooden one. There are several small repaired chips. (Note: there is another Derby rendering of Mercury standing on a different base with his left arm raised instead of his right. I don’t know why Derby made two versions. Perhaps these two, with matching bases, were intended as a pair, while the other Mercury was intended to stand alone.) Mercury is thirteen and a quarter inches tall.

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Bone China, Ceramics, Hand Made, Hand Painted, Porcelain, Pottery
Blue, Pink, White
Royal Crown Derby
Classical Greek, Classical Roman, Georgian
England • English

Laureate Antiques

Derby Pair Porcelain Figures: Fame and Mercury, Model Number 302, C1770.


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