Our little winged friends

Putti, also called cherubs or cupids or little angels, are a very popular Western design feature and you can often see putti in the porcelain items I show. This week I have this wonderful Chelsea-Derby plate from about 1775 decorated by Richard Askew, a famous painter of putti on porcelain. But where did putti come from?

Putti on a Roman sarcophagus in Pompeii

The word "putti" is plural for the Italian "putto", which means a toddler-type winged angel, or a sweet little boy. It is actually a very old word, going back centuries to Persian and Sanskrit. In many current languages the word "son" is still similar: "beta" in Hindi, "putara" in Punjabi and "pesar" in modern Persian. Putti can come with o