Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Figure - The Greek Slave
  • The Greek Slave
    Powers, Hiram, born 1805 - died 1873
  • Enlarge image

The Greek Slave

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Stoke-on-Trent (made)

  • Date:

    1862 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Powers, Hiram, born 1805 - died 1873 (sculptor)
    Minton, Hollins & Co. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Parian porcelain

  • Credit Line:

    Given by C. H. Gibbs-Smith

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122, case 4

Object Type
Minton's version of the Greek Slave was first produced in 1848. It is made of Parian, Minton's name for statuary porcelain, which alludes to the white marble from the Greek isle, Paros. The figure copied a marble statue first exhibited in London in 1845 and now in Raby Castle, Durham. A marble replica, now in the Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC, was shown at the Great Exhibition. It stood against a red plush backdrop in the main avenue of the Crystal Palace and was much admired, despite ambivalent Victorian attitudes to displayed nudity.

Materials & Making
At the Exhibition of 1851, Minton's trade name, Parian was in general use for all vitrified unglazed bone china, even though rival companies had invented their own names for the material. Each part of a figure was made in a separate mould. The smooth appearance of the finished figure was admired as much for its technical skill as for its aesthetic qualities. Minton produced over 500 Parian figures between 1845 and 1910.

The American sculptor, Hiram Powers (1805-1873) was the son of a Vermont farmer who was fortunate to receive help from a patron to move to Florence in 1837, where he established his reputation.

Subjects Depicted
Hiram Powers' Greek Slave depicts a Greek woman exposed for sale at a Turkish bazaar. It alludes to the Greek War of Independence (1821-1832) but was also topical as slavery was abolished in Britain in 1833, while it was still prevalent in many American states. Minton later produced further slave figures, including an American Slave in 1862.

Place of Origin

Stoke-on-Trent (made)


1862 (made)


Powers, Hiram, born 1805 - died 1873 (sculptor)
Minton, Hollins & Co. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Parian porcelain


Height: 35.4 cm, Width: 11.3 cm, Depth: 9.9 cm

Object history note

Made by Minton & Co., Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

Descriptive line

The Greek slave

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The full-scale marble sculpture of 'The Greek Slave', carved by the American sculptor Hiram Powers (1805-1873) in 1843, was one of the most popular exhibits at the Crystal Palace in 1851. This is a small scale version made in Parian porcelain. The invention of a machine in 1844 which could reduce sculptural works in scale meant that Parian replicas could be produced with a high degree of accuracy. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

Mould dated 1848; this example made in 1862


Sculpture; Ceramics; Figures & Decorative ceramics; British Galleries; Great Exhibition


Ceramics Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.