Made for the Victorian middle class, early Staffordshire pottery figurines were made by finger pressing thin bats of moist clay into molds and were quickly painted by unskilled workers, mainly women and children. From today's perspective, the relative crudeness of the process and the resulting manufacturing flaws are part of the charm and folk art appeal of these figures. This miniature lion is a delightful example of the 19th century pottery and is very regal despite the cracks and flaws from the production process. It stands just over three and a quarter inches tall, including the oval base, and is approximately three inches from side to side. He is a soft yellow color with golden brown highlights and painted black eyes and snout.
This figurine was purchased from a local estate and there was a piece of tape on the underside with what looks like the name 'Mercy Misener' and the date Dec. (25?) 1899. The paper came off after we took the photos but will be forwarded with the lion and there is the usual small hole which allowed air to escape during the firing.
This date may indicate a 1899 manufacturing date although it is common practice for older people to put names on items that they want passed to certain people after their deaths and the figurine may be older as suggested by the absence of gold, the relative crudeness, and the heavy weight of the piece. We believe in any case that the lion is most definitely nineteenth century and exceptionally appealing. We also think it is in basically `as new' condition with the open cracks, hole in the front, and uneven paint being production flaws characteristic of Staffordshire pottery. There is a very minor flake on the underside which is probably more recent however it is not noticeable and does not detract.