At over twelve inches high, this is one of the more imposing figures produced at Derby, and is an excellent piece for display. The childlike figure of Eros or Cupid (Love) is being awakened by a duo of virgins so that he can go about the world and shoot his arrows of love into maids and shepherds—or into lords and ladies too! Perhaps the virgins expect him to find a couple of handsome future husbands? The colors in this figure group work well together and give a peaceful feel to the scene. This depiction of antique allegorical characters was modeled in porcelain by Pierre Stephan, the creator of many of Derby’s best figure groups, and is ultimately based on stipple engravings of about 1776 by Francesco Bartolozzi, after paintings by the Swiss artist Angelica Kaufmann. It appears in the Derby catalog for the first time in 1778. The colorful figure is in excellent condition. An original firing crack exists at the base of one of the virgins, which was repaired when the figure was made so that it could be enameled with delightful pastel colors. As is normal, some of the leaf tips have been broken off in the past 225 or so years. There is also one original flaw: One virgin’s hand has been covered by thick, clear glaze that ran in the firing.
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