Staffordshire pair of ‘Cobbler & his Wife’, c.1870
Pair of Staffordshire figures, depicting ‘The Cobbler & His Wife’, shown seated with tools & ale jug, a dog under one seat, a cat under the other.
Good condition, minor signs of age
The Cobbler & his Wife, otherwise known as Jobson and Nell, comes from a Georgian popular poem. It was immensely popular, re-printed many times throughout the second half of the 18th century and well into the 19th. The story is simple; the village cobbler, Jobson, was a bit of a drinker, and went on the occasional binge. When this happened, no shoes got mended. When the village parson desperately needed his shoes done for Sunday, Jobson ‘left him in the lurch’, stating that the Parson could do them himself – because he was well used to ‘cobbling soles’ …. and that’s the humorous bit: the play on words between soul and sole. A cobbler and a Parson were being practically the same in their careers.
The poem goes on another dozen verses, with his wife Nell seeking to blackmail him into behaving by giving him no supper; Jobson resolves this by pinching the Parson’s roast beef dinner for himself! The Parson runs around until he finds his roast beef in Jobsons house,
“When he found his roast Beef
It gave him relief
To think he his meal should not lose
Down together they sat
And eat both lean and fat
And forgave Jobson keeping the Shoes. “