Staffordshire pearlware group of Dr Syntax playing cards, £3000 at Clarke’s.

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The pearlware model of Dr Syntax playing cards dated to c.1830 and is one of the most detailed and vibrant of its day.

Measuring a relatively large 8½in (22cm) across, it depicts the comic character made popular by Thomas Rowlandson seated in a high-backed chair with a red table between him and the other player.

The story of Doctor Syntax at a Card Party appeared in The Third Tour of Doctor Syntax published in 1821.

A handful of versions of this subject are known (a similar group with the two figures reversed is in the Willett Collection in Brighton) and there is another with a ‘Sherratt’ type table base.

Most survivors have some damage to the extremities, including this example offered in Dorset that was missing the arm of Syntax’s opponent.

The figure was offered with a more common pearlware figure of around the same date marked for the Walton factory. This group of a young boy with chickens seated beneath a tree had several breaks and repairs.