Staffordshire theatrical figure group, the sailor Edward Morgan and Jenny Jones, c.1855
Large Staffordshire figure of the sailor Edward Morgan and Jenny Jones, he dramatically posing with a pint & a leg on a chair, with a pistol stuffed into his belt, she seated at a table with knife, bread & cheese, both dressed in underglaze blue jackets with colourful garment highlights.
H: 28cm W: 18cm
His head restuck at neck with chips to back brim of hat, crazed all over
Pugh (1971 ‘Staffordshire Portrait Figures’ ) illustrates the figure (#188, p286 & 348) where he notes ‘the brace of pistols was never any part of the issue to lower deck sailors’ (such as this figure) – therefore it is probably theatrical. He proposes Edward Morgan and Jenny Jones as candidates, popular subjects from a song that was a ‘hit’ during the Crimean War, at around the time this figure was produced. The ballad looks back to an earlier period, the Napoleonic Wars of the earlier 19th century, and relates the aspect of retiring from Navy duty to a peaceful countryside existence: it includes ‘And we’ll live on our cheese and our ale in contentment’ – clearly depicted here.
The cover sheet from the song book is obviously the inspiration for the figure, see the last illustration; this was printed in around 1850, in Chester by T.Catherall, after a drawing by J.C. Rowland illustrating the verse. In this image, he raises his drink in a dramatic gesture; very hard to do with a pottery figure, and so they have his arm still down (and therefore part of the same simpler mould) – but have given his leg’s position the same dramatic treatment!
ref. Harding vol.1 #1154