Pair of Staffordshire equestrian figures of Crimean War leaders – £2400 at Lacy Scott & Knight.

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Depicting Lord Raglan and Sir George Cathcart on horseback, they were rather unlikely subjects for the pottery to honour.

Raglan, the military hero who became a field marshal, presided over failures in the Crimean War, including the Charge of the Light Brigade, and died in the peninsula in 1855 of dysentery and depression.

General Cathcart, technically second-in-command, was a bitter enemy of Raglan opposing many of the his more foolish orders until he, too, made a disastrous decision during the 1854 Battle of Inkerman and was killed along with scores of his troops.

However, the Victorian customers were probably unaware that their fallen heroes had feet of the sort of clay in which they lay and, for today’s collectors, infamy is at least as attractive as fame.

The 12¼in (31cm) tall figures were in good condition with wear and crazing consistent with age and only a tiny hairline to the tail of a horse and tiny chip to one hat.

Offered without an estimate at the Bury St Edmunds sale held on December 3, they attracted wide bidding before an online UK dealer beat a rival on the phone at £2400. A single figure of Cathcart on horseback took £1200 as part of the first tranche of the Harry Ryans collection sold by Kinghams in June.

More from Ryans

More from the personal collection of Ryans, a dealer in Victorian-era Staffordshire pottery who traded first in Richmond, then in South Kensington, was offered at the Moreton-in-Marsh saleroom on December 9.


Pair of Staffordshire leopards by ‘the Turquoise factory’ – £2400 at Kinghams.

Sold at £2400 (guide £1000-1500) was a pair of 7in (18cm) high Staffordshire standing leopards, decorated in naturalistic colours and raised on plinths with a coveted turquoise ground.

They shared much in common with a similarly decorated pair of standing greyhounds (which occasionally come for sale in the £400-800 price bracket) and a pair of recumbent greyhounds (a pair of which sold for a mighty £6400 at W&H Peacock in April). They may indeed have been made in the same unnamed pot bank.

A perennially popular model is the lion (representing Great Britain) seated with paws over a French soldier (representing Napoleon). Most were made half a century after Waterloo in the 1860s-70s. A good pair offered here took £1200.