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Ralph Wood Staffordshire Pearlware Pair of Large  Figure Groups,
The Bird Cage & The Flute Player.

18th Century Staffordshire Pearlware Pair of Large Figure Groups,

"The Birdcage" & "The Flute Player",

Probably made by Ralph Wood II, or possibly by his brother John Wood, or the former's son Ralph Wood III,

Circa 1780-1800.

(Ref: NY9110-iarr)

Each earthenware figure with coloured leadglaze depicts a young man and woman on a moss-covered rock.  

One group depicts a young man holding a large bird cage on his right knee with his female companion holding a bird from the cage on her left hand.  In her other hand, she holds a posy of flowers.  On the base, a lamb drinks from the stream which flows from below the rock upon which they are seated while a swan sits nearby.

The other figure depicts a shepherd playing a flute. his dog sitting by his legs while his female companion listens intensely to his playing by his side.  A sheep and a goat lie at their feet.

Mark: The Birdcage figure is impressed under the dry bodied base with the number 89.


Flute Player: 11 inches high x 7 inches wide x 5 inches deep

Liberty & Matrimony:  11 inches high x 6 1/4 inches wide x 4 3/4 inches deep

Provenance: Frank Partridge Collection, no. 150. Illustrated "Ralph Wood Pottery: Mr. Frank Partridge's Collection", # 150.

One with label 'Frank Partridge Collection No. 150/pr', each with an applied paper label' SP 13 1/2, and '...2/2'.


See The Flute Player, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge,

Object Number: C.29-1930

The Museum refererences:

Falkner, Frank. 1912. The Wood Family of Burslem.London: Chapman and Hall


Halfpenny, Pat. 1991. English Earthenware Figures 1740-1840.Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club

Ref. for coloured glaze figures

Halfpenny, Pat. The Wood Family.

Source Title: Ceramics III (May-June-1986) : 118-26

Ref. For provisional dating of figures made by Ralph Wood II, and possibility that some of these figures could have been produced by his brother John Wood, at his factory at Brownhills from at least 1783

Foyn, Wynne Hamilton. 'Ralph Wood' Figures: Who modelled and made them?.

Source Title: This Blessed Plot, This Earth, English Pottery Studies in Honour of Jonathan Horne(2011)

p. 120-8

Ref. The author puts forward the view that Ralph Wood II was the modeller and maker of the figures as was believed to be the case before publications by Halfpenny.

Also See Winterthur Museum for a similar group with the birdcage.

(Object # 2002.0030.057.002)

For Shepherd & Shephess figure see Manheim, pl. no. 34 & Oliver, p. 9, fig. 6, for a Ra. Wood example, circa 1775.

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