This is a beautiful figure of a gentleman with a dog and a bird, made by Edme Samson in Paris in the Derby style. 


Edme Samson was founded in Paris in 1845 and specialised in making replacements for valuable items of the French gentry and museums. They became so good at this that they eventually grew out to be the "great imitators" - not necessarily to fool anyone, but more to fill in gaps in collections that had arisen through breakage and wear, and to offer the new French bourgeoisie an affordable way to obtain pieces of top quality. This is how they came to create many items in the style of Sevres, Meissen, Bow, Chelsea and Derby. The good Samson pieces are now quite popular as collectors' items in their own right as they rival the quality of the originals.


Figures became popular in the 18th Century and were widely made in Germany and France, before English porcelain makers started the tradition. First Chelsea and Bow made figures, then when Derby bought up Chelsea they became the main makers of these figures. Later in the 19th Century, the French Samson factory made its own imitations of Derby figures.


This figure shows a seated gentleman with a dog at his feet, and a little bird on his knee that he is protecting with his hand. It is half of a popular series called "Matrimony" and should have gone together with a female figure seated with a cat and a caged bird on her knee. This set would have symbolised matrimonial bliss for a young couple; the cat at the woman's feet symbolises homeliness, the caged bird how she gives up her freedom for matrimony; the dog at the man's feet symbolises faithfulness and loyalty, and the bird on his knee both freedom and the protective role of the male. A very traditional take on marriage no doubt and from before the #metoo era - but moving in its own way!


There are no markings at the bottom except an inscribed number 39, which together with the fact that this is very white and smooth porcelain and there aren't the three familiar Derby stilt marks, this will have been made by Samson in the second half of the 19th Century.


CONDITION REPORT The figure is in beautiful condition. there are some small repairs to the bocage and the fingers of the figure's right hand, and the bocage protruding forwards has been repaired as there seems to be a bit missing. All this has been done professionally and the figure looks in fabulous condition.


Antique porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. 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. Figures in particular will usually have professional repairs, and they cannot always be discovered if executed well. I often commission repairs myself in order to offer you a figure in fabulous condition. I will always mention any repairs I know of but cannot guarantee that I have seen all repairs that happened at an earlier date.


DIMENSIONS 28.5cm (11.25") high, 17cm (6") wide, 15cm (6") deep.


SHIPPING I ship worldwide from the UK, mostly by Royal Mail 2nd Class for the UK and International Tracked and Signed for the rest of the world. I am happy to combine shipping charges on multiple items - please contact me to discuss. In principle I do not make a profit on shipping although for simplicity's sake I charge flat shipping fees. If the fee charged greatly exceeds the actual cost I will gladly refund you the difference - at the same time if it is slightly lower I will gladly make up the difference. In some countries shipping will end up significantly more than the expected fees and I will contact you to discuss our options. PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING SHIPPING COSTS AND OPTIONS.

Edme Samson figure in Derby style, gentleman with dog and bird, 19thC

  • Your item will be shipped after receipt of funds, unless agreed otherwise in writing. 


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    We always aim to have happy customers so if you have an issue with or questions about your item, please contact us and we will do anything we can to resolve the issue with you! 

Covid-19 - we are open for business! 

We can ship normally to most destinations, but some are currently closed.

For the time being we have had to raise shipping prices as shippers are now charging more.

As we are living under lock down and can't always reach our stock, lead times will be a little longer than usual.

For now, please bear with us as we do our best to get your parcels to you as quickly as we can! 

If needed we are happy to hold your parcel for you until the end of the pandemic.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss and thank you for your business - it is a vital support for our business! 🙏

© 2020 by Gentle Rattle of China, London UK  

copyright on all images and text

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