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Bust

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast terracotta, painted.

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the Hildburgh Bequest and the Murray Bequest

  • Museum number:

    A.4-2017

  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery, case 5

This bust is almost certainly a self-portrait by the great Staffordshire potter Enoch Wood (1759-1840), at the age of 62. Other versions exist elsewhere, including one at the British Museum, but this one is unusual in that it seems to have its original colour. The reverse is inscribed in Enoch Wood's own hand: 'The Bust of Enoch Wood of Burslem aged 62 AD 1821'.

The liquid clay, or slip, was poured into a plaster mould, which absorbed the excess water. The solidified slip shrank away from the mould, and was removed for drying. The clay was then fired, after which the surface was painted. This fine portrait represents the most ambitious example of an 18th-century ceramicist ‘elevating’ himself to the role of a sculptor, and is a perfect example of a work of art straddling both ceramics and sculpture.

Physical description

Painted terracotta bust of Enoch Wood at the age of 62.

Materials and Techniques

Cast terracotta, painted.

Marks and inscriptions

The Bust of Enoch Wood of Burslem aged 62 AD 1821
Written in Enoch Wood's hand.

Dimensions

Height: 61 cm

Object history note

This object has not been marked, and will need to be when next taken off display.

Descriptive line

Painted terracotta bust of Enoch Wood, probably a self-portrait. Dated 1821.

Labels and date

Bust of Enoch Wood
Probably by Enoch Wood (1759-1840)
Painted terracotta
Dated 1821
This bust is almost certainly a self-portrait by the great Staffordshire potter Enoch Wood, at the age of 62. Other versions exist elsewhere, but this one is unusual in that it seems to have its original colour. The liquid clay, or slip, was poured into a plaster mould, which absorbed the excess water. The solidified slip shrank away from the mould, and was removed for drying. The clay was then fired, after which the surface was painted.
A.4-2017
Purchased with the assistance of the Hildburgh and Murray Bequests
[24/08/2017]

Materials

Terracotta

Techniques

Cast; Cast

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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