The marble-like beauty of Parian Ware captivated Victorians. It allowed the middle classes to possess articles of high art. And by the end of the 19th Century, every properly furnished Victorian parlor contained at least one piece of it. Victorians welcomed Parian’s inexpensive, small-scale copies of busts of literary and political figures, as well as its decorative vases, boxes and pitchers. It has been said that Parian had the same effect on statuary as the invention of the print to painting. Less expensive than bronze and more durable than plaster, Parian was a development of earlier biscuit porcelain. It is undecided who the inventor of Parian actually was, Copeland or Minton, in the early 1840's.
Calliope was one of the young, beautiful maidens referred to as the Nine Muses. The nine Muses were the daughters of Zeus, the king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. The names of the nine Muses were Clio, Thalia, Erato, Euterpe, Polyhymnia, Calliope, Terpsichore, Urania and Melpomene. Calliope and her sisters were believed to reside above the golden clouds that covered sacred the Greek mountain peaks above the summits of Mounts Olympus, Helicon, Parnassus, and Pindus. They entertained and joined the Olympian gods in their feasts drinking water, milk, and honey, but never wine. The sisters were originally the patron goddesses of poets and musicians but over time their roles extended to include comedy, tragedy, history, poetry, music, dancing, singing, rhetoric, sacred hymns, and harmony.
This wonderful statue, circa 1850-1860, is "Calliope", Greek mythology muse of epic poetry. Epic poetry consists of a long narrative that reflects the values of the society, usually including the concept of 'good versus evil' and features heroes, villains and often includes the divine intervention of the gods. Examples of this poetic device are the "Iliad," and the "Odyssey". Traditionally, an epic poet would invoke the aid of Calliope to guide and assist him in his work. The invocation took the form of a prayer for divine inspiration from the goddess. These invocations were later included as part of the work at, or near the beginning, of the piece of poetry. The invocation in Homer's Iliad refers to the muse as a "heavenly goddess."
The attention to detail gives the impression of a fine, hand-carved, marble sculpture. She has her arm rested on a floral covered post, holding a book of poetry in her right hand and a water jug in the other. Her flowing gown, hair style and facial features are great. The statue measures 10" in height and is unmarked as to the maker. It is undoubtedly one of the famous manufacturers of the day, Copeland, Minton, Worcester, Wedgwood, Goss or others. There are no cracks, chips or repairs; near mint. Super Parian-Ware statuary piece.
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