This is an English Staffordshire pottery or earthenware box, similar to the chicken on a nest, except this is a rare swan on a nest, a figural box or a figurine on a box. This is an earlier version, made around the middle of the 19th century, circa 1850 to 1870.
The box is not the size of a trinket or powder box. It is 7" long, 5" wide and 6 ¾" high. I photographed the box in front of a chocolate pot, which has a gold lion perched on the handle, which you can see in the last photo, so you can gain a better perspective of the size of the box. The bottom is glazed. The top is glazed up to the bird. The swan is bisque or biscuit, and showing color only on the eyes, the front of the head and the beak. The interior of the underside of the lid is glazed, but the rim on the underside is not glazed. A hole is drilled into the underside of the lid where the neck is, and was done at the porcelain factory.
Around the bottom, designed into the mold, are branches in raised relief. The branches go toward each end, form a looped handle, and go around the other side. The rest of the bottom has vertical indentations and horizontal ridges, which are difficult to see in the photos, and show as contrasting pale gray and cream colors. The handles were covered with red enamel at one time, but it is almost 100% worn away from age. The base has large bumps in the mold, painted in black enamel. The interior is glazed, but the rim is unglazed.
The goose or swan is fantastic. It is remarkable how the feathers are detailed. The face is expressive, and in fact the swan looks sort of mean or unhappy. His neck is swiveled back and he has his head resting on his wing feathers. His rump is high and up.
Here are the flaws. 1)The unglazed parts show some dirt. 2)On the bottom, the interior edge of the top where the lid hunkers down, there are two small flakes, which I point to with a big fat red arrow. 3) There are some glazing bumps and irregularities. 4) The red enamel is gone. There are no chips, cracks or crazing.
The bottom has a number one with a period in black enamel. There are no maker's marks.
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