This is a very charming porcelain pug dog made by Rockingham in about 1835.
This tiny dog would make a perfect Valentine's Day gift!
Although the Rockingham pottery started some time in the mid-18th Century, when we say "Rockingham" it mostly means the Rockingham pottery as it was run between 1826 and 1842, creating high quality bone china table ware. The pottery rose to fame when King William VI ordered a huge dinner service containing 200 pieces. It took 600 people 7 years to complete this service, and by the time it was finished the King died. It ended up being used for the first time at the subsequent coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837. In the end, the undertaking, although it brought important business from all British aristocracy, had ruined the pottery and it never recovered. It closed it doors in 1842. This story serves to show the status, artistic sophistication and capacity of the Rockingham pottery in the 1830s.
This dog is in "blanc de chine" white porcelain with only a gilt collar, and the face and feet touched up. The dog is seated on a simple Rococo scroll. It has a gilt collar with a little gilt flower in the neck - this means it is a female dog. Note that her head is smaller and legs longer than pugs today; this is how they were bred in the 19th Century. The Rockingham pugs have a wonderful melancholic expression in their faces; this one has just a hint of red in the mouth so she looks like she might lick you any moment :-).
Pugs were incredibly popular and there was hardly a lady without one, particularly in Britain and the Netherlands. The history to this is that William the Silent had a pug, Pompey, who alerted him one day in 1568 to an assassination attempt, saving his life. William the Silent made him the official Royal dog of The Netherlands, and his great-grandson William III, who about 120 years later became King of England, Scotland and Ireland, took the fashion to Britain. Today there is a revival of the pug fashion, so these dogs might make a perfect wedding gift to modern dog lovers!
This particular pug is a rare one; most Rockingham pugs are a bit larger and have larger tails, ears and thicker legs than this one.
CONDITION REPORT The pug is in excellent antique condition repairs or wear other than some very light rubbing on the gilt. There is a very superficial tiny flake off the front of the base, and a little production mark on the hip, both visible in the pictures.
Antique British 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. 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. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!
DIMENSIONS height 6cm (2.5"); base 5.3cm (2") X 3.6cm (1.5").
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.
Rockingham pug dog on Rococo base, ca 1835
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