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This is a beautiful pair of Derby porcelain candlestick figures of a bagpiper and a lady with lute, made between 1759 and 1769, which was the Rococo era. The pair is one of Derby's famous figure pairs and this particular pair is very beautifully made.
 
The Derby Porcelain factory has its roots in the late 1740s, when Andrew Planché, a Walloon Huguenot refugee, started making simple porcelain toys shaped like animals in his back yard. In 1756 Staffordshire enameller William Duysbury and banker John Heath started a new porcelain factory with Planché and this was to grow out to the largest factory of its time, buying up the bankrupted Chelsea and Bow factories, as well as the stock of several other workshops including that of James Giles. The combination of various traditions, porcelain making skills and sophisticated clients enabled Duesbury to create one of the best porcelain factories of the 18th and 19th Centuries, which after many ups and downs is still operative today. 
 
This pair of figures is famous and it was shaped after a source that has not been identified. 
 
You see a lady with a lute and a lamb by her side, and a gentleman with bagpipes and a dog by his side. Both are beautifully dressed in Rococo outfits; the gentleman in particular has a stunning waist coat and the lady in a skirt with very interesting patterns. The animals have adorable expressions on their faces and the lady and gentleman look sophisticated and delicate, with slightly blushing cheeks. Both figures have waste-high bocage behind them. They have swan-neck candle sconce holders that have been fitted with Meissen-type sconces at a later date. The colours of these figures are fresh and delicate.
 
These figures were used to adorn the dinner table when dessert was served; groups of figures could serve to express something about the host, the guests, or to direct the conversation. There were many series with particular themes, such as pastoral types and animals, musicians, the trades, Greek and Roman mythology and the Elements, Seasons or Virtues.
 
The figures are unmarked but they do have the typical patch marks of that period.
 
CONDITION REPORT: The figures are in good condition with some light repairs. The repairs have been done professionally, however they are dated and therefore have slightly discoloured. Both figures have one rococo-scroll of the base replaced; the sconces are later replacements in the Meissen style; and there are several small replacements such as the lamb's ear and the top of the lute. The lady has a fine crack running through the back of her base, and a small crack through one of her feet - she might have been broken and placed back together, but these cracks do not stand out.

 

If desired we'd be happy to arrange for the repairs to be redone with modern materials that will not discolour, however due to the current lack of restorers this might take a significant amount of time to be finished. 

 
Antique British porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1700s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. British makers were also known for their experimentation, and sometimes this resulted in technically imperfect results. Due to the shrinkage in the kiln, items can have small firing lines or develop crazing over time, which should not be seen as damage but as an imperfection of the maker's recipes, probably unknown at the time of making. Items have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear, and gilt can have signs of slight disintegration even if never handled. I will reflect any damage, repairs, obvious stress marks, crazing or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks, stains and gilt disintegration can be normal for vintage items and need to be taken into account.
 
There is widespread confusion on the internet about the difference between chips and nicks, or hairlines and cracks. I will reflect any damage as truthfully as I can, i.e. a nick is a tiny bit of damage smaller than 1mm and a chip is something you can easily see with the eye; a glazing line is a break in the glazing only; hairline is extremely tight and/or superficial and not picked up by the finger; and a crack is obvious both to the eye and the finger.
 
DIMENSIONS: Height ca 22cm (8.6").

Derby pair of candle stick figures, bagpiper and lady with lute, ca 1765

SKU: A-DER49a
£775.00Price
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