Lot 42
A Bow figure of a Thames Waterman the porcelain circa 1755-60
Sold for £6,240 (US$ 10,478) inc. premium
Lot Details
A Bow figure of a Thames Waterman
the porcelain circa 1755-60
Modelled standing, wearing a peaked yellow and black hat, yellow frock coat, flowered waistcoat, blue breeches and black shoes, with an oval armorial badge on his raised left arm, before a tree stump on a shaped square base, 19cm high painted red anchor and dagger mark (the decoration later, restoration to neck, raised arm and hand and to one foot)


  • Provenance: Raymond Yarbrough Collection. Illustrated by Yarbrough (1996), colour pl V, with detail of armorial badge and catalogue 1, fig 13. Also Albert Amor, 'An Exhibition of The Yarbrough Collection of Bow Porcelain and London Theatre', 11th March to 24th March 1999, pl 8. The Waterman is one of a few Bow figures where the modelling is original and not derived from Meissen, but depicts an historic event in London. In 1715 Thomas Doggett, an Irish comedian, actor and singer founded an annual rowing race for the Thames watermen held on the 1st August. The race between the Swan Inn at London Bridge and the Old Swan at Chelsea was in commemoration of the accession of George I. The distinctive flowing coat and badge modelled on this figure was the prize. The race was so popular that in 1774 it was the subject of a ballad opera by Charles Didbin 'The Waterman, or the First of August'. The race is still being held each year in the last two weeks of July. A few examples of the figure are known 'in the white', see Bradshaw (1992), p 74, pl 37, for an example. For a figure with contemporary decoration from the Thomas Berners Collection, see Christie's, King Street, 3rd November 1997, Lot 55

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, contrary to the condition note in the catalogue, this figure's neck, raised arm and foot have not been restored. His hand, only, is a replacement.