- Museum number
Figure of a ratcatcher; soft-paste porcelain; female figure stands on oblong base ornamented with three groups of applied flowers and wears turban-like hat with scarf tied below chin, flowered dress with pink cuffs beneath yellow coat and black shoes; on her back is square parcel painted pale brown and tied with darker brown twine held in black harness; it is surmounted by brown-coloured object on which is perched a squirrel; hanging around her neck from a pink cord is box of wares including three medicine-bottles; brown bottle suspended from harness at front; partly restored scroll in left hand, inscribed; unglazed flat base pierced by small circular hole; unmarked.
- Production date
Height: 20.10 centimetres
Height: 51 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Dawson 1987
This rare figure, of which no other exactly similar example has been traced, is related to one from the Pearson Collection, sold at Sotheby's 18 April 1967, lot 178. This piece, which apparently had a companion figure of an Alchemist, had a monkey seated on her pack, held a bottle in her left hand and a rectangular tray under her right arm. A related figure without the squirrel surmounting the pack and without the scroll was sold at Sotheby's, 3 December 1968, lot 147. As was pointed out by the cataloguer of the Pearson Collection sale, there is apparently a distant relationship between the 'Ratcatcher' figure, and one incorporated into a group of slightly later date known as the 'Fortune Teller', an example of which is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, inv. no. C. 145-1928, ex Alfred Hulton collection. The suggestion that this group relates to one of the Beauvais tapestry panels from the 'Fêtes Italiennes' scenes designed by François Boucher has not proved capable of verification.
It has been suggested that the source for this figure was one of Huet's 'Cris de Paris', but none seems to correspond especially closely. Tim Clarke has drawn to my attention a drawing by Huet for a 'Savoyarde with marmoset' called at the Meissen factory a Murmeltier. However this woman carrying a marmoset in a box perched on her left hip does not bear a particularly strong resemblance to the Bow figure.
W. King, 'Wallace Elliot Bequest of English Porcelain and Pottery', British Museum Quarterly, vol. XII, no. 3 (1938) no 76-78, pl. XXVIII, 1.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1987 Jun 10-Jun 15, London, International Ceramics Fair and Seminar Ltd, 'International Ceramics Fair and Seminar'
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number