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The Royal Arms: C.949-1928

An image of Spill vase

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


The Royal Arms


Production: John Walton
Walton, John




Earthenware spill vase. moulded and modelled, lead glazed and painted with polychrome enamels.

Animal figure group representing the Royal Arms. In the centre is a spill vase formed from a grey-green column surmounted by a red and gold crown. On the front of the column is the Royal shield, inscribed ‘HOMI [sic] . SOIT . QUI . MAL . Y. PENSE’, above a rose and thistle. It is supported by the lion and the unicorn, each on its hind legs and standing on a scrolling ribbon inscribed ‘DIEU ET MON DROIT’. The inscriptions are incised and coloured black. The group is brightly coloured with enamels over a blue-tinged glaze and stands on a green kidney-shaped cushion. A shallow rectangular base is coloured to imitate marble. The underside is recessed and glazed. On the back, ‘WALTON’ is impressed on a scroll.


History note: Captain Reynolds Collection, London, sold to Messrs Gill and Reigate. Bought by Mr Stoner, London, from whom purchased in 1910 by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge. Dr Glaisher paid £125 for this and fourteen other pieces, as part of a purchase of 35 figures and figure groups.

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L.Glaisher Bequest, 1928

Measurements and weight

Height: 15.2 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Burslem ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

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


19th Century, Early#
1820 - 1830


Earthenware figure groups were popular from around 1810, although the earliest examples date from nearly a century earlier. A cheaper alternative to porcelain figures, they were often produced by small potteries; very few are marked. These early figure groups are often complex, including modelled and moulded parts and applied decoration and the backs, though flat, are decorated. But as demand increased, processes were streamlined to allow mass production and by c.1835 the earlier, relatively costly, methods had largely given way to three-part press-moulding.

‘The Royal Arms’ was probably made to celebrate the accession of either George IV (1820) or William IV (1830). John Walton (1780-c.1835) is listed in an 1818 commercial directory as a colour maker and earthenware figure manufacturer; the business was taken over by his son-in-law George Hood, during the 1830s. His figures are notable for their rich colours, they are often set against bocage (stylised leafy trees) and many of his subjects are taken from porcelain originals; the rectangular ‘marble’ base used here is also typical of his work.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels lead-glaze

Materials used in production

White earthenware

Techniques used in production

Moulded : Earthenware, moulded and modelled, lead glazed and painted with enamels.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: set within a scroll

  • Text: WALTON
  • Location: Lower back
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.949-1928
Primary reference Number: 76430
Old object number: 3214
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "The Royal Arms" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-19 13:33:05

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