- Place of origin:
Derby, England (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Credit Line:
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
18th and 19th century theatrical stars were often celebrated in paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and ceramics. Small figurines of performers proved lucrative for ceramic firms such as Derby, one of the earliest English porcelain factories, which was established by the French Huguenot Andrew Planche in the mid-1740s. Porcelain manufacturers copied engravings of the most popular performers for small decorative ceramics such as this figurine of Madam Vestris as the Broom Girl, which originally included a twig broom.
The actress, singer and theatre manager Lucia Elizabeth Vestris (1797-1865), was born in London Elizabeth Bartolozzi. Aged sixteen she married the dancer Armand Vestris and although they separated, she kept his name professionally. She could have specialised in opera but instead worked in burlesque and comedy roles, making her earliest success in 1820 in a burlesque or parody of Mozart's Don Giovanni called Giovanni In London. She made a name for herself in Paris and London, was famous for her 'breeches' roles, portraying men and revealing her well-shaped and much praised legs, and made a huge hit with The Broom Girl! which she first sang at the Haymarket Theatre in 1826. She took over the Olympic Theatre in 1830, and after her marriage to Charles Matthews in 1838 also managed Covent Garden and the Lyceum Theatres for some time.
Polycromed glazed ceramic figurine of Madam Vestris.
Place of Origin
Derby, England (made)
Materials and Techniques
Height: 14.5 cm, Width: 5.3 cm, Width: 5.9 cm of base, Height: 1.1 cm of base, Depth: 5.9 cm of base
Glazed ceramic figurine of Lucy Elizabeth Vestris (1797-1856) as the Broom Girl, singing Buy a Broom! which she first sang at the Haymarket Theatre, 1826. Glazed porcelain, Derby, c.1830.
Ceramics from the Robert Eddison Collection (Theatre Museum)
Lucia Elizabeth Vestris
Vestris, Lucia Elizabeth
Entertainment & Leisure; Figures & Decorative ceramics