A most unusual Staffordshire Pearlware Bird Feeding Trough decorated in Pratt Colors. Dating c. 1780-1800, this figure is of a young, standing woman wearing a bonnet. There is a narrow trough extending out of the base she is standing on and I believe that this trough was inserted between or under the bars of a bird cage. The figure is 7” tall and the base is approximately 2” x 1 ¾”. The little, shallow trough extends out about 1 ½”.
It has been suggested that this figure represents Hygieia, the Greek Goddess of Health, whose symbol was a snake. And the figure does appear to be clutching a snake to her chest.
For such a delicate piece approach 225 years old, the figure is in remarkably good condition. The molded detail, especially in her flowing robe, is crisp and the colors strong. There is a semi-circular chip in the base, along with some glaze rubbing on the bottom and there may be an old repair on the front rim of her hat, but there are no other visual issues. A form that neither I nor any of my Staffordshire dealer friends have ever encountered before. And I’ll