These little gems were part piddlin’ find and part sursie, as I found them a few weeks back in my mom’s booth. They were given to her by a friend as a donation to her antique habit (I get it honest) and as fate would have it, they ended up coming home with me one day after meeting up with mom at the antique mall.
We call these “Staffordshire” for short, but they have a long history and many names dating back to the 19th century. It’s no secret that Englishmen and women, like Americans have always had a special place in their homes for dogs, and the British Royals of the past, present and future aren’t any different. Spaniels could be seen throughout art and history as the royal dog of choice, and this preference dates back to the days of Queen Victoria. I could go into plenty of boring detail here about how to determine a “real” Staffordshire pair from a “really fake” pair, but here is all you really need to know. They have always been made of clay or ceramic and are generally found sitting atop a mantle in the UK/sometimes bookshelves stateside. Traditionally they were figurines depicting King Charles Cavalier Spaniels (much like Queen Victoria’s beloved dog, Dash) and also were traditionally hand painted, as are most fine antiques. Today there is a vast array of types of dogs portrayed and painting methods, as well as various and sundry other details that the trained eye can easily spot. Scroll to the bottom for more details.
…just because something isn’t authentic doesn’t mean you can’t collect it!
These particular pretty little King Charles Cavalier figurines are quite the faux reproductions, however this brings up an important lesson for all piddlin’ fans alike: just because something isn’t authentic doesn’t mean you can’t collect it. Don’t be silly- after all, if an old thing strikes your fancy, then by all means enjoy it! Some collectors can be too serious and turn the hobby into more of a competitive sport. To me it’s not about how many authentic, valuable things we find and stow away in our home, it’s about the nostalgia and the meaning each found object takes on in our home. As soon as an item looses it’s meaning or personal value, it will certainly be finding it’s way right back to the antique mall for another piddler to discover and take home to cherish.
Isn’t that what “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” means after all?!
–You can read a little bit more about these classic mantlepieces’ history on Wikipedia, here. Now, now for those of you in a tizzy over finding authentic pieces only, I have found a couple of links to help you get started on that hunt! Take a look at what Houzz has to say about the timeless treasures here, and then take a peek at “Real or Repro” here. Also, please feel free to share your comments below about your favorite type of figurines or maybe how you determine their authenticity. Do you have Staffordshire in your home? Where do you display yours?
Thanks for stopping by!
| Keep piddlin’