A Staffordshire pearlware group figure of a woman and a young boy, seated near a stream, holding firewood, her right hand resting on the boy’s head; a jug of oil is between her feet and a barrel of meal is beside her. The figure dates to the early 19th century.
Description: approximately 5¾ x 5¼ inches at the base, and about 9½ inches tall. The figure weighs a little less than two pounds, eleven ounces.
The figure was inspired by the story in the Old Testament (1 Kings 17) of the raising of the son of the widow of Zarephath by the prophet, Elijah. According to the story, the widow and her son have only enough flour and oil to last a day, and yet they share their food with Elijah. Later, the boy dies, but is revived by the prophet.
Figurines of the “Widow” were made with an accompanying figure of Elijah. We do not have the companion figure.
The over-glaze enamel painting, especially to the Widow’s gown, is still bright and nicely executed. There is remarkably little wear and few losses to the decoration.
Although most Staffordshire figures were not marked, this piece bears the name “Walton” on the back of the base. According to Godden’s Encyclopaedia of British Pottery and Porcelain Marks, the name Walton on a raised scroll was used by John Walton on figures between about 1818 and 1835. The pottery was located in Burslem in Staffordshire, England.
Condition: fair, with restorations and repairs. A check with a black light showed that the areas of discoloration (on the figures’ faces, the Widow’s left sleeve and hand) are attempts at repairs to the painted enamel decoration. The Widow’s right hand has been either repaired or, more likely, restored. The top of the tree trunk at her back appears to have been tidied up. The work here appears to be professional. The twigs and firewood have had work as well, possibly just the reattaching of sticks to the bundles. There are a couple of chips along the bottom edge of the base, but there do not appear to be any visible cracks or breaks to the pottery. The writing on the underside was done by the previous owners.
We have done our best to show such damage and flaws in the photographs we submit with this listing.
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