Not currently on display at the V&A

John Liston as Lubin Log

Figurine
ca.1840 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

In the 19th century the stars of their day were often celebrated in paintings, prints and drawings, in ceramic figures and even Toby jugs. Several factories in Staffordshire specialised in moulded earthenware portrait figurines which were decorated by hand and sold cheaply. This figurine depicts John Liston (1776-1846) as Lubin Log, the conceited cockney character he first played in James Kenney's play Love, Law and Physic at Covent Garden Theatre on 20 November 1812, and in many revivals.

Despite a rather serious temperament, John Liston became one of the greatest comedians of all time, achieving his greatest successes in farce, particularly at the Haymarket Theatre in 1825 as the pompous busybody Paul Pry, a role in which he was often depicted in paintings, drawings and figurines. Liston was the first comic actor to command a salary greater than a tragedian, earning the vast salary of £60-£100 a week with Madame Vestris's company at the Olympic Theatre. He retired in 1837 after a successful stage career which lasted over thirty years.

Object details

Categories
Object type
TitleJohn Liston as Lubin Log (generic title)
Materials and techniques
Glazed earthenware
Brief description
Figurine of John Liston (1776-1846) as Lubin Log in the comedy Love, Law and Physic by James Kenney, Covent Garden Theatre, 20 November 1812. Enoch Wood & Sons, Staffordshire, ca.1840
Physical description
Earthenware figurine of John Liston as Lubin Log. He wears a burgundy jacket over a striped waistcoat, cream and tan striped breeches, a white top hat over a white and red cross-hatched scarf/hood, and black boots, and has a spotted scarf (black spots on a mauve ground) over his shoulders. In his right hand he holds a hat box and an overcoat. In his left hand he holds a coin. Behind him is a pillar, for support. On an integral square base, the top painted brown, the sides white and edged in tan.
Dimensions
  • Height: 15.5cm
  • Width: 6.3cm
  • Of base height: 1.6cm
  • Of base width: 6.4cm
  • Of base depth: 5.0cm
Credit line
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996
Object history
The pose of this figurine is based on that in a print published by Orlando Hodgson in 1826 entitled: 'John Liston in his Principal Characters'. The print is inscribed with the names of the nine characters and an appropriate quote for each, and for Lubin Log: 'It's quite hoptinal you know, but here's sixpence for you'. Of all nine characters, pottery and porcelain figures and known to exist of seven, all dating from ca.1826 after Liston's enormous success as Paul Pry.
Subject depicted
Summary
In the 19th century the stars of their day were often celebrated in paintings, prints and drawings, in ceramic figures and even Toby jugs. Several factories in Staffordshire specialised in moulded earthenware portrait figurines which were decorated by hand and sold cheaply. This figurine depicts John Liston (1776-1846) as Lubin Log, the conceited cockney character he first played in James Kenney's play Love, Law and Physic at Covent Garden Theatre on 20 November 1812, and in many revivals.

Despite a rather serious temperament, John Liston became one of the greatest comedians of all time, achieving his greatest successes in farce, particularly at the Haymarket Theatre in 1825 as the pompous busybody Paul Pry, a role in which he was often depicted in paintings, drawings and figurines. Liston was the first comic actor to command a salary greater than a tragedian, earning the vast salary of £60-£100 a week with Madame Vestris's company at the Olympic Theatre. He retired in 1837 after a successful stage career which lasted over thirty years.
Collection
Accession number
S.996-1996

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest feedback

Record createdDecember 29, 2005
Record URL
Download as: JSONIIIF Manifest