Figure depicting Dick Turpin
- Object Number: STKMG:1980.P.267
- Simple Name: figure
- Production Place: Stoke-on-Trent
- Production Place: Staffordshire
- Production Place: England
- Production Period:
- Summary: Figure depicting Dick Turpin. Earthenware with overglaze painted decoration. Turpin is shown riding Black Bess, facing right, with a pistol in his right hand. 'DICK TURPIN' inscribed to front of base.
- Terms:heroes & villains
- Terms:crime & punishment
- Terms:18th & 19th Century Staffordshire
- Additional Notes: During his lifetime Dick Turpin was a notorious horse thief, murderer, highwayman and housebreaker. The only mourners at his funeral were those he had paid for himself. However, 100 years after his death he was being remembered as a Robin Hood-type hero. Audiences wept as his heroic horse 'Black Bess' died after a record-breaking ride to York. However, Bess never existed and the ride, if it happened at all, was done by another highwayman. It this romanticised character that was depicted by Staffordshire potters.
- Additional Notes: Turpin had trained as a butcher before joining the house breaking Essex Gang. When most of the gang were arrested he turned to highway robbery with his partner in crime Matthew, or 'Tom' King. In 1737 king was shot during an attempted arrest, possibly by Turpin himself. Turpin managed to hide in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire for more than as year under the name John Palmer. However, he was identified after another brush with the law. Seeking bail, Turpin's real identity was outed after a letter written to his brother-in-law was seen by his old school master who recognised the hand writing! On the 7th April 1739 Dick Turpin was hanged at York's gallows.
- Contact: Potteries Museum and Art Gallery