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This is a beautiful pair of porcelain figures made by Derby around 1765. The pair was called the "Idyllic Musicians", numbered 311 in Derby's factory list. The figures are in wonderful condition with only a small amount of invisible restoration.
 
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. 
 
The male musician is dressed in a delicately coloured outfit of a pink flowery bodice aqua trousers and a large fluttering turquoise cape that is white on the inside. He wears a black hat, black flower-buckled shoes, and he plays his flute and tabor simultaneously. He is stood on a beautiful Rococo scroll base against a flowery waist high bocage. The female musician has an outfit in matching colours; an aqua bodice with gilt pattern and a pink apron tucked up on a brightly striped skirt. A white scarf runs down from her head and she is playing a triangle.
 
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, which is not unusual for this period. They do have the typical patch marks of that period and we know that they are number 311 from the Derby Factory List. You can find them described and pictured in Peter Bradshaw's book on pages 353-355.
 
CONDITION REPORT: The figures are in near-perfect antique condition without any significant damage or wear and only a small amount of restoration: the male musician has some light restoration to the tabor and stick, the flageolet, his right hand and the back of the head. There are some typical small losses to the bocage and both figures have lost the plumes that would have been on their heads, but this does not stand out. Both have a firing crack in the base, which is quite common for these figures. There is a small amount of crazing that does not stand out. All colours are bright and clean.

 
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 21.5cm (8.5"). 

Derby pair of figures, "Idyllic Musicians", ca 1765

SKU: A-DER26a
£0.00Price
Out of Stock
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