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Figure - The Death of Munrow

The Death of Munrow

  • Object:

    Figure

  • Place of origin:

    Staffordshire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1830 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lead-glazed earthenware, press-moulded in sections and assembled and with title impressed with metal printer's type, and painted in enamels

  • Credit Line:

    Donated by Robert Breckman in memory of his wife Julie

  • Museum number:

    C.1-2007

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 145, case 20, shelf 1

This delightfully naïve ceramic sculpture shows the death of Lieutenant Hugh Monro, a young British army officer serving in India, who was mauled by a tiger while picnicking on a hunting trip in 1792. Monro's gruesome death is said to have inspired the creation of the automaton and mechanical organ 'Tippoo's Tiger'. One of the V&A's most popular exhibits, 'Tippoo's Tiger' was made for the Indian ruler Tipu Sultan, who so loathed the British and identified with the power and ruthlessness of the tiger that he became known as the 'Tiger of Mysore'. The ceramic group echoes the design of the automaton, and it is possible that its sculptor knew the piece, as it was illustrated in prints and exhibited in London after it was seized by the British in 1799. Monro reclines stiffly at the feet of the tiger, apparently blissfully unaware of his fate - an effect that was probably the result of the sculptor having simply reused the model or moulds for a standing military figure without adapting in any way it for its new context. Pottery groups of 'The Death of Munrow' were first made in Staffordshire in the 1810s, and they remained in production until about 1830, when this version with a 'table-top' base was made.

Physical description

Lieutenant Hugh Monro, evidently moulded from a model for a standing figure of a military hero, lies stiffly at an angle at the feet of a tiger, which faces right and grips the side of Monro's head in its jaws. Both are brightly painted in enamel colours. The group is supported on a 'table top' base, with moulded, painted and sponged decoration, the front of which is impressed 'THE DEATH OF MUNROW'.

Place of Origin

Staffordshire (made)

Date

ca. 1830 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Lead-glazed earthenware, press-moulded in sections and assembled and with title impressed with metal printer's type, and painted in enamels

Marks and inscriptions

THE DEATH OF MUNROW

Dimensions

Length: 34.9 cm

Historical context note

The group shows the death of Lieutenant Hugh Monro, a British officer serving in India who was mauled by a tiger while picknicking on a hunting trip in 1792.

Descriptive line

"The Death of Munrow", lead-glazed earthenware, painted in enamels, England: Staffordshire, about 1830

Materials

Earthenware

Subjects depicted

Death

Categories

Ceramics

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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