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  • Place of origin:

    London, England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1754 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bow Porcelain Factory (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Soft-paste porcelain, painted in enamels and gilt

  • Credit Line:

    Given by W. A. Floersheim

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, room 53a, case 1

Object Type
This figure is one from a pair, the other being a shepherdess. Idealised representations of shepherds and shepherdesses, often fashionably dressed, were very popular in Western Europe in the mid-18th century. The Bow factory copied this figure and its shepherdess from a pair made at the Meissen porcelain factory in Germany. They may have been displayed on a chimney-piece or another domestic furnishing. Alternatively, they could have been set out on a dining table, which is probably how the Meissen originals would have been used. Meissen was the first factory to make porcelain figures for the dessert, and set the sculptural conventions followed by porcelain factories elsewhere.

Continental porcelain could not be legally imported for sale in Britain until 1775, unless it was stated to be for personal use, not for resale. Despite this, large quantities of Meissen porcelain were sold in London china shops in the 1750s. Much of this had been imported under the pretence that it was for personal use, but some was smuggled in. The British greatly admired Meissen porcelain, and the English porcelain factories made many figures copied from Meissen originals.

Physical description

Figure of a shepherd

Place of Origin

London, England (made)


ca. 1754 (made)


Bow Porcelain Factory (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Soft-paste porcelain, painted in enamels and gilt


Height: 26.03 cm, Width: 14.2 cm approx.

Object history note

Made at the Bow porcelain factory, London

Labels and date

British Galleries:

The German Meissen factory invented the porcelain figure and established its use in table and interior decoration. Meissen introduced figure styles and subjects that the English factories followed until about 1770. Despite import restrictions and duties, Meissen porcelain was readily available and widely copied in England. [27/03/2003]


Ceramics; Porcelain; Figures & Decorative ceramics

Collection code


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