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Venus with Cupid and a Dolphin (Venus Anadyomene): C.870-1928

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Venus with Cupid and a Dolphin (Venus Anadyomene)


Production: Wood, Ralph, II (Probably)




Cream earthenware group of Venus, Cupid and a Dolphin on a high pedestal, decorated with green, yellow, and two shades of brown lead-glazes

Cream earthenware, press-moulded, and decorated with green-tinted clear, green, yellow, manganese-brown, and greyish-brown lead-glazes. The undersides of the base and figures are open and unglazed, The figure and its base are supported on a high greyish-brown square pedestal, decorated on each side with a urn in relief, and having a projecting border of gadrooning round its lower edge, and of circular formal flower heads round its upper edge. Venus stands on a rocky base with Cupid on her right, and an inverted dolphin spewing water from its mouth on her left. Her head is turned slightly to her left and she rests her left hand on the dolphin's tail. In her right hand she holds a small oblong object. She has a yellow coronet over her brown hair, and wears a green and brown drape around her lower body held up by a strap over her right shoulder and descending to the ground at the back. The base and the dolphin are coloured green and manganese-brown, and the glaze on the flesh of Venus and Cupid is tinted very pale green.


History note: Robert Henry Soden Smith FSA (1822-90) before 1889; unidentified private collector; Mr George Stoner, from whom purchased for £10 on 26 February 1908 for £10 by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge.

Legal notes

Dr J. W. L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 27.5 cm
Width: 10.6 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Burslem ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1928-12-07) by Glaisher, J. W. L., Dr


18th Century, Late
George III
Circa 1783 - 1795


Probably made in the factory of Ralph Wood II at Burslem. An order dated 16 November 1783 from Josiah and Thomas Wedgwood includes 6 figures of Venus and 6 of Neptune, priced at 15d. each making a total of 7s. 6d., which seem likely to have been this model and its companion. (Wedgwood Archives MSS 11496-12)

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of lead-glaze ( green, yellow, manganese-purple, and brown)
Base Depth 8.8 cm Width 8.8 cm

Materials used in production

cream Earthenware

Techniques used in production

Press-moulding : Cream earthenware, press-moulded in parts, assembled, and decorated with translucent green-tinted, green, manganese-brown and greyish-brown lead-glazes

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: rectangular white stick-on label with a blue motif in the top corners, and part of one in lower left corner

  • Text: No 2841/Ralph Wood/figure of Venus/on high square/plinth, By the/elder Ra. Wood/Has belonged to/Soden Smith./'Whieldon under/glaze colouring./b. in London/Feb 26 1908
  • Location: Inside the base
  • Method of creation: Hand-written
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.870-1928
Primary reference Number: 76254
Old object number: 2841
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 2 May 2023 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) "Venus with Cupid and a Dolphin (Venus Anadyomene)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-17 15:43:14

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{{cite web|url= |title=Venus with Cupid and a Dolphin (Venus Anadyomene) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-17 15:43:14|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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