Uncle Toby and the Widow Wadman, Copeland Model, 1890
A ceramic model featuring Uncle Toby and Widow Wadman, made by Copeland.
The model is parian ware. There is a Copeland stamp and a date stamp on the base at the rear. The date indicates that it was produced in April 1890. Records at the Spode Museum Trust show that ‘Uncle Toby and the Widow Wadman’ was first issued in about 1870, suggesting that the piece was made for a period of at least twenty years.
The original price of the model was £1 4s., but by 1877 the price had dropped to £1 and by 1884 it was 15s. Copeland made a good profit on the piece as it only cost 2/3d. to produce. There are no records suggesting that the model was produced in different versions but it certainly differs from another that exists by Copeland. This other version is in a private collection and is 2cm higher, owing to a thicker base and the positioning of the figures.
Noted differences are that the Shandy Hall model has no clay pipe, while the other has traces of the ceramic stem of the pipe showing that there was once a pipe in position, Uncle Toby has a longer wig and different coat folds in the Shandy Hall model as well as plain buckles on his shoes, which are decorated in the other model. Also in the Shandy Hall model, Toby’s right hand covers the second bottom button on his coat, while in the other model his hand reaches out further. The figures’ heads are at different angles in each model and there are gaps between Widow Wadman’s skirt and Toby’s leg and between her skirt hems and the base of the Shandy Hall model, which do not exist on the other model.
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