Skip to main content

Africa from a set of Continents: C.91-1932

An image of Figure

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Africa from a set of Continents


Factory: Derby Porcelain Factory




Soft-paste porcelain figure of Africa, painted in polychrome enamels.

Legal notes

Given by Mrs W.D. Dickson

Measurements and weight

Height: 10 in
Width: 7 3/4 in

Place(s) associated

  • Derby ⪼ Derbyshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1932) by Dickson, W. D. (Frances Louisa), Mrs


18th Century, second half#
George III
Production date: circa AD 1765


The figure of Africa derives ultimately from the representation in Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia, 1593, the first illustrated edition of which was published in Rome in 1603. It shows Africa as a woman with an elephant headdress, holding a lobster in her right hand and a cornucopia in her left, and having a lion behind her. The porcelain model also resembles the marble statue without a cornucopia or lobster in the garden at Versailles, begun by Sibrayque and completed by Jean Cornu (1650-1710) in 1682. The Derby Continents may have been inspired by one of several Meissen sets of seated or standing figures modelled c. 1745-50, by J.J. Kaendler, P. Reinicke, and F.E. Meyer, but their immediate prototype appears to have been a set of Chelsea Continents of c. 1758-9.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( polychrome)

Materials used in production

presumed lead Lead-glaze
Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Glazing (coating) : Soft-paste porcelain figure of Africa, paibted in polychrome enamels.

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.91-1932
Primary reference Number: 43503
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 4 April 2022 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Africa from a set of Continents" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-23 23:32:30

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Africa from a set of Continents |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-05-23 23:32:30|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        alt="Africa from a set of Continents"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Africa from a set of Continents</figcaption>

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...