Lead-glazed earthenware figure of a Gardener, probably Ralph Salt, Hanley, Staffordshire, c.1820


This early 19th century figure represents a gardener standing before bocage on a bright green mound. The front of the lower part of the mound is decorated with a flower and two leaves. Two clumps of green shredded clay represent grassy tufts. The black-hatted gardener wears pale turquoise breeches, a blue gardening apron and a striped waistcoat. In his right hand he holds a pot containing a plant, his left hand resting on his spade. The moulded leaves and flowers of the tree, as well as the use of brightly coloured enamels are typical of Ralph Salt figures of this type, examples of which are sometimes impressed 'SALT' within a scroll on the reverse.


To the hollow underside is an old collector's label and an old label bearing the inventory number 38 E.

Provenance: This figure was purchased in the United States from a sale of deaccessioned museum objects held to benefit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Accession Number: 14.102.399).

Condition: Foliage is entirely missing from two of the bocage branches, and two of the serrated leaves have old, discoloured restoration. The leaves of the plant he is holding are restored too. No other damage or restoration. In spite of this, the figure remains a charming example of English folk pottery, representing a specific time and society in cultural history.

Dimensions: Height 14.5 cm

People, Passions, Pastimes, and Pleasures: Staffordshire Figures 1810-1835, Myrna Schkolne (Hot Lane Press, 2006).

A Collector's History of English Pottery, Griselda Lewis (Antique Collectors' Club, 1987).

English Pottery and Porcelain, Geoffrey Wills (Guinness, 1969).



Click on thumbnail above to see larger image