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Titania and Bottom

  • Object:

    Figure group

  • Place of origin:

    Worcester (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1853 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kirk, William Boynton (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Moulded Parian ware

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    S.1019-1996

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This figure group is made of Parian ware, the unglazed development of biscuit porcelain which became very popular after the Staffordshire firm of Copeland and Garrett introduced it in 1842 as a medium for busts, statuettes and reliefs. Several potteries marketed it under a different name but Parian ware became its generic name after Minton used 'Parian' to suggest Paros, the Greek island which supplied stone used for Classical statuary. Parian ware was not cheap but gave households the semblance of owning a marble bust or figurine, previously only afforded by the very wealthy.

The Worcester firm started their production of Parian relatively late, but after they launched a range at the Dublin Exhibition in 1853, their chief modeller James Hadley (1837-1903) created a large number of decorative and useful wares for them. This group was modelled by William Boynton Kirk (1824-1900), another of Worcester's modellers who produced twelve different figure groups for Worcester depicting characters from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Bottom is shown here after Puck has changed his head to that of an ass, and has applied magic juice to Titania's eyes so that she sees him as a handsome object of adoration.

Physical description

Parian ware figurine of Titania and Bottom, as an ass, both sitting on the ground. Bottom is sprawled against a tree on which roses are climbing, while Titania, on his right leans, against him lovingly, encircling his head with both arms.

Place of Origin

Worcester (made)

Date

ca.1853 (made)

Artist/maker

Kirk, William Boynton (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Moulded Parian ware

Marks and inscriptions

Blue 'rosette' mark on base

Dimensions

Height: 18.0 cm, Depth: 18.5 cm of base, and maximum width, Width: 17.6 cm of base, and maximum width

Descriptive line

Figure group representing Titania and Bottom in Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. Worcester Parian ware, modelled by William Boynton Kirk (1824-1900), ca.1853

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

The Parian Phemomenon, a Survey of Victorian Parian Porcelain Statuary & Busts, published by Richard Dennis, 1989.

Materials

Parian (porcelain)

Techniques

Moulding; Firing (heating)

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Figures & Decorative ceramics; Parian ware

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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