This is a striking figure of Minerva made by Edmé Samson in Paris in the Derby style. 


Edmé 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 the Roman goddess Minerva, known as Athena in Greek mythology. She was the goddess of wisdom, good judgment and war, and military leaders would consult her on how to fight wars wisely. You can see the symbolism in the owl at her feet, and the shield and staff she holds.


There is a (presumably imitation Chelsea/Derby) gold anchor mark on the back of the item, near the foot. There are no markings at the bottom except the inscribed numbers 9 and 2, which together with the fact that this is very white and smooth porcelain and there aren't the familiar three Derby stilt marks, this is made by Samson in the second half of the 19th Century.


CONDITION REPORT The figure is in beautiful condition. The lower arm holding the staff has been professionally repaired, as have some of the leaves and petals in the bocage and the protruding bocage just above the scroll on the left side; the staff is a replacement. Other than these extremely well executed and invisible repairs, there is no damage or wear and the figure looks stunning.


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, 15cm (6") wide, 13cm (5") 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.

Edmé Samson figure in Derby style, Minerva, 19thC

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