Sunday, June 1, 2014

Figure of the Day: A Victorian Fairing, 19th C.

Porcelain Fairing
Germany, 19th C.
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Fairings were small porcelain objects (boxes, little cups, vases, etc) of a figural design which were given out as prizes and trinkets at village fairs in Victorian England.  They’re relatively difficult to come by these days since they weren’t really as appreciated at the time as they are today.

The body of this Nineteenth Century fairing is of white porcelain with two figures on the base. One shows a seated man in a dressing gown and night-cap while the other is depicts a woman in casual day attire and a hat, carrying a folded umbrella.  A wee chest of drawers stands behind the figures. The front of the base is outlined in gilding, inscribed with “Missus is Master.”  Ha!

This, like most of the fairings used at British fairs was made in Germany.  Of the factories making them by far the most prolific was Conta and Boehme of Pössneck in Saxony. The subjects of these pieces vary from the innocent (playing children or animals or puns) to the saucy (bedroom frolics or the purely suggestive).

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