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Dwarf musician

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (makers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Glazed porcelain

  • Credit Line:

    Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is one of a series of figurines produced in France in the 19th century, modelled after engravings by Jacques Callot (1592-1635). The engravings, printed in 1622, show a troupe of grotesque dwarf entertainers known as Les Gobbi, who performed in Italy for the Medici Court while Callot was working there. Dwarfs would have been regarded as amusing, and a troupe that sang and danced would have been a great novelty in the 17th century.

Born in Nancy, in Lorriane, Jacques Callot studied art and printmaking in Italy and later worked under the direct patronage of the Medicis in Florence, where he established his reputation as a fine print artist. Callot was a master of expressing the horrors and joys of 17th century life and was popular all over Europe. He returned to Nancy in 1621 after the death of Cosimo Medici and is perhaps best known today for his fine series of engravings of Commedia dell'Arte characters, many of whom were also later copied for ceramics.

Physical description

White glazed porcelain figure of a hunchback dwarf musician standing by a tree stump, playing a trivet, his right leg raised up in front of him.

Place of Origin

France (made)


19th century (made)


Unknown (makers)

Materials and Techniques

Glazed porcelain


Height: 9.5 cm, Width: 4.0 cm, Height: 1.0 cm of base, Width: 4.1 cm of base, Depth: 4.2 cm of base

Object history note

Copied after one of the 17th century engravings of Jacques Callot (1592-1635).

Descriptive line

Figurine of a dwarf musician playing the trivet, from the troupe Les Gobbi who performed at the Medici court, Florence, ca.1620. After an engraving by Jacques Callot (1592-1635). Porcelain, French, 19th century

Production Note

After an engraving by Jacques Callot (1592-1635)


Porcelain; Glaze


Moulding; Firing (heating); Glazing (coating)


Entertainment & Leisure; Figures & Decorative ceramics; Ceramics


Theatre and Performance Collection

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