Due to an abundance of naturally occurring coal and clay, the Staffordshire region of England is renowned for manufacturing fine china and dinnerware, though local ceramic companies also made a variety of extraordinary figurines. Staffordshire potters began producing these decorative figures during the 18th century, mostly from cheaper earthenware or salt-glazed stoneware.

Eventually, a greater range of colors was used, and potteries made figurines from the finest bone china, which necessitated a switch from hand-sculpted figures to those using press-molds. Staffordshire figurines had their heyday during the Victorian era, and began to disappear in the late 19th century, as imported German bisque products were more affordable.

Staffordshire designs included all manner of domestic and wild animals, as well as human figures taken from historic or current events. At the time, these figures were sometimes referred to as “image toys” or “chimney ornaments.” Those designed as actual chimney ornaments were produced with a flat rear side intended to be hidden when placed against the mantel wall.

Part of the charm of Staffordshire figures is their simple folk style, created mostly by forgotten potters with basic coloring and forms depicting elements of everyday country life. A few artisans working in the Staffordshire region did make figurines in recognizable styles, even though most were unmarked. These include John Astbury’s tradesmen and musicians, Thomas Whieldon’s animals with tortoise-shell glazes, and Obadiah Sheratt’s violent scenes from history, like the tiger mauling Lt. Hugh Munro.

Some of the many animals made into Staffordshire figurines include parrots, hens, roosters, horses, cows, sheep, elephants, cats, deer, lions, zebras, and, of course, dogs. Pairs of dogs were one of the most common forms of Staffordshire figure, often featuring regional breeds like greyhounds or pugs. King Charles Spaniels became the most popular, likely because of Queen Victoria’s famous pet spaniel, Dash.

Many Staffordshire miniatures depicted the royals themselves, such as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as well as other celebrities like stage actors or literary characters and exoticized individuals from places like Turkey, China, or India.

Interpretations of political events often provided fodder for Staffordshire ceramics, like the various figurines representing the controversy surrounding the New Marriage Act of 1823, which attempted to prevent clandestine marriages that weren’t approved by a couple’s family. The most fascinating of these scenes were drawn straight from tabloid headlines, like the series created after William Corder murdered Maria Marten and hid her body under a nearby barn. Marten, Corder, and the infamous “Red Barn” were all immortalized with Staffordshire figurine designs.


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Early Pair 19thc Staffordshire Pottery Springer Spaniel Dogs Figurine Rust 5.5"Antique Staffordshire Pottery - Woolly Sheep Figure - Unusual!Superb Pair Large: 19thc Staffordshire Russet Red & White Spaniel Dogs C1880sInteresting Mid 19thc Staffordshire Thomas Parr Female Figure With Sheep C1850sAntique Staffordshire Pottery Woolly Sheep Figure - Unusual!Victorian Staffordshire Spaniel Mantle Dog Figure Number 3 To BaseSuperb Pair: Mid 19thc Staffordshire Russet Red & White Spaniel Dogs C1860sSuperb Mid 19thc Staffordshire Male Figure With Zebra With Spill Vase C1860sWonderful Antique 19th Century Staffordshire Flatback Figurine Dick Turpin19thc Staffordshire Pottery Springer Spaniel Dog Head Bank Original Version 5.5"Pair Of Victorian Staffordshire Hyland FiguresSuperb Mid 19thc Parr Staffordshire Girl With Irish Setter Dog C.1850Superb Mid 19thc Staffordshire 'little Girl Blue' On Border Collie C.1845Sweet Little Dog - Victorian Cdv By Thomas H. Hall, Hanley, StaffordshireAuthentic 1800's Antique British Russet Red & White Staffordshire Dogs 7" TallSuperb Pr 19thc Staffordshire Russet-red & White Mantlepiece Spaniels No 2Interesting Early 19thc Staffordshire Pearlware Female Figurine & Sheep C1810sPair Victorian Staffordshire #1 Size Red/white SpanielsPair Victorian Staffordshire #2 Size Red/white SpanielsSuperb Mid 19thc Staffordshire Of Male & Female Figurines With Spill Vase C1860sPair Victorian Staffordshire #3 Size Red/white SpanielsAntique Small Staffordshire Rockingham Spaniel Dog Figurine On Base * Ca 1820Cabinet Card Antique Photograph Musical Banjo Boy Longton StaffordshirePair Victorian Staffordshire #3 Size Red/white SpanielsSuperb 19thc Staffordshire Lustre Dog With Blue Eyes & Open LegSuperb Mid 19thc Staffordshire Greyhound Dog With Separate Front Legs C1860sAntique Staffordshire Figure With Dog - Bee Hive & Tulip Spill VasePair Victorian Staffordshire #5 Size Red/white SpanielsVintage Beswick Staffordshire Spaniel Mantle Dog Figure 9.5" TallWonderful Antique Rare Staffordshire Flatback Figurine P. Bince Man On ZebraWonderful Antique Rare Staffordshire Flatback FigurineSuperb 19thc Staffordshire Seated Male Figures, One Reading Newspaper C1880sPair Victorian Staffordshire #2 Size Copper Lustre SpanielsLarge Pair Of Staffordshire LionsRare Antique Staffordshire Tape Holder Figurine Nymph Riding A SwanWonderful Antique Staffordshire Flatback Figurine Man On HorseReproduction Staffordshire Figure Of A C.1830 Leopard & Cub With BocageReproduction Staffordshire Pottery Figure Of C.1850 Death Of Nelson At TrafalgarAntique Pair Of Staffordshire Figurine Of Male And Female W/fruitAq - Staffordshire Huntsman Figure - Feather Hat Rife Hunting Dog - Flat Bk 11"t Antique Staffordshire England Pair Figurines,prince Of Wales Princess On PoniesPair Staffordshire Pottery Figures On Horseback Titled Harvest & Home C1880Superb Mid 19thc Staffordshire Male & Female With Seated Dog & Spill Vase C1860s2 Vintage Staffordshire England Winking Eye Teacups Man And WomanAntique 6" Tall Miniature Staffordshire Ceramic Flat Back Figure Of Cricketer(39) Vintage Dog Photos Pointers American Staffordshire Jack Russel TerrierVictorian Cabinet Card - Little Girl With Staffordshire Bull TerriorAdorably Fat Staffordshire Spaniel Dog, White W/russet/brown, ~3.5" Tall, 2.5"wQueen Victoria With Child Figurine, Pre 1900 Staffordshire England...rare