Earthenware figure group depicting Politos Menagerie
- Object Number: 1949.P.295
- Simple Name: figure group
- Production Place: Stoke-on-Trent
- Production Place: Staffordshire
- Production Place: England
- Creation, production or manufacture details: individual components moulded then assembledmoulded
- Production Period:
- Summary: Earthenware figure group depicting Politos Menagerie. Inscription reads 'Politos. Royal. Menagerie. of. the. wonderful. burds. and. beasts. from. most. parts. of. the. world. lion. &c', with overglaze painted decoration. Assembled from moulded components the scene depicts the frontage of Politos Menagerie with a large banner featuring an elephant, lion, tiger, birds and monkeys. Under the banner is a porch on which four colourful musicians are playing alongside a fifth figure who appears to be a door man or ticket seller. The whole group rests of four grotesque style modelled feet.
- Terms:101 Ceramic Highlights
- Terms:18th & 19th Century Staffordshire
- Additional Notes: Politos was a real menagerie based at Exeter Change, London from 1770. Polito purchased the collection in 1810 on the death of it?s owner Gilbert Pidcock and ran the menagerie until his own death in 1814. Menageries were popular as forms of entertainment but also considered for their cultural and scientific values. Visitors to Politos included scientists, natural historians, artists and poets including Lord Byron.
- Additional Notes: The elephant in the centre may represent Chunee, the star attraction at the menagerie from his arrival in 1811. However, Chunee became ever more violent and unpredictable with age and, in 1826, after killing his keeper, he was destroyed by fired squad. The manner of Chunee?s captivity and death sparked public outrage and debate. The rest of the menagerie is also said to have been lost in tragic circumstances, sinking whilst crossing the sea for an Irish tour in 1836.
- Contact: Potteries Museum and Art Gallery