Monday, August 19, 2013

Sculpture of the Day: The Girl-in-a-Swing, 1749

The Victoria & Albert Museum

A lovely young lady on a swing is rendered here in soft-paste porcelain. The figure was meant to be displayed on a mantelpiece or sideboard or in a cabinet as the figure faces forward, and the reverse of the piece is not as well-finished.

This is a part of the so-called “Girl-in-a-Swing” group of porcelain figures, scent bottles and other decorative arts which were named after this figure. The group has been highly collectible since the 1920s. Until 1993, the maker of the group was not clearly identified.

At first, the “Girl-in-a-Swing” series was attributed to the Chelsea factory of Nicholas Sprimont (1716-1771). Collectors of porcelain then suggested that they were probably made at a rival factory which had been founded by the Staffordshire workmen who had left Sprimont's works.

However, recent findings have shown that these figures were made by Charles Gouyn (died 1785), a second-generation jeweler with premises in St James's, London. Gouyn had been a partner in the Chelsea factory until 1749. More than that is unknown. The location of Goyn’s factory and the modeler of these figures remains a mystery.

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