I love buying mixed lots at the auctions because sometimes, when there’s one piece you particularly want, you get other odd bits that you end up liking. Such was the case over the weekend with the auction I attended.
There were three or four pieces in this lot that I really liked, but it was all or nothing, so I bid on the lot, and won it. Tucked in the back of the shelf are two small Staffordshire Spaniel figurines. I have seen these pieces all of my life, but have never read about their story. The dogs were originally made in Staffordshire, England where there were good quantities of two elements: Clay and Coal, both of which are vital to the pottery industry. There were six major pottery works in the area, known collectively as The Potteries. Although other breeds and animals were portrayed, spaniels were especially popular and this is attributed to royalty favouring the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed. So, many of the dogs that you see are either liver and white, or all white. They often have either a chain around their neck, or a collar and locket. Because they were hand-painted, many times by women and children who worked in The Potteries, they are each different. If you see identical ones, they’re probably fake.There are stories about the dogs being used as signals… if they’re back-to-back, that indicates one thing and if they’re face-to-face, that indicates another.