Rare pair of English Porcelain Theatrical ‘chimney-ornament’ figures, Madame Vestris? c. 1825

$1,850.00 AUD

Rare pair of English porcelain ‘chimney ornaments’, depicting stage characters in costume, one a ‘man’ in boots & breeches, a sword at his side and a feathered cap to his head; the other as a woman in a graceful high-waisted Regency dress, a feathered hat on her head, each on grassy mounds fronted with gilt rococo scrolls.

Unmarked,

maker unknown

Circa 1825

17.4 cm high, bases 8.5×5.5cm

A very interesting & rare pair of theatrical figures, they are an up-marked version of the brass ‘chimney ornaments’ that decorated the mantle piece in many British cottages. Their identities would have been recognizable when they were made.

One possibility is ‘he’ is the magnificent Madame Vestris, the super-star actress of the early 19th century who was successful as a man on the stage for many productions. The fact she wore trousers was a sensation at the time…. and her success as a businesswoman was rare in the Georgian era.
This figure costume matches her role as Don Felix in James Kennedy’s ‘The Alcaid’, performed in London in the 1820’s.

Of course, while ‘he’ could be a female actor, the same is the case for the lady; many men made their mark as the female act on the stage, and this in fact was often the lure of the Georgian theatre!

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