A fine pair of Bloor Derby ‘Mansion House’ Dwarfs c.1825. Each moustached figure modelled wearing a comically large hat bearing an advertisement, one wearing a tasselled sash about his rotund belly, the other with polka dots on his shirt sleeves, a cane in one hand, both standing on a grassy mound base applied with flowers
See Franklin Barrett and Arthur Thorpe, Derby Porcelain, London, 1971, p. 42-3.
These popular figures are thought to either be based upon Chelsea's models of dwarfs after engravings by Caloto or, more likely, the dwarfs that stood outside the Mansion House in London. This second hypothesis seems more likely as the advertisements on their hats seem to allude to the practice of 'attaching advertisements to the Mansion House figures'.
See Bradshaw -Derby figures- No.227, p312
The title Mansion House Dwarf is a later association, relating to a father/son pair of dwarfs in Tudor times who would use their large hats for advertising space as they stood outside Mansion House. However, Bradshaw notes that the earlier references refer to Caloto, meaning the illustrator of the 17th century, and these in turn inspired Meissen figures, which inspired Chelsea and Derby. The plain hatted examples appear to be earlier, with the Mansion House legend springing up in the early 19th century, and later examples such as these having multiple adverts painted onto their hats.
See John Twitchett – Derby porcelain p. 143
These figures who carried and in fact still do carry advertisements on their hats, originally known as ‘Grotesque Punches’ and were numbered in the Haslem list No.227. They were certainly inspired by the ‘Hatmen’ of Chelsea. It is generally agreed that the original inspiration was that of Calotto but it is more likely they were inspired by Dwarfs who paraded up and down outside the Mansion House in London. Henry Sandon and the author, appeared for charity, in the role of these figures in May 2000 in Buxton.
Condition: Excellent with no damage or restoration. Just some minor flaking to the enamel
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