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John Wesley

Decorative Pearlware

One of the finest examples of sculpture in pottery we've seen in a long time. You get an impression of a man of strong character and lots of charisma when looking at this piece, which is rarely conveyed.

Wesley sat for this portrait, and, we are told, he wore his best wig for it. Ward, in his History of Stoke-on-Trent, says of it A bust of the venerable Wesley, modelled from his person at Burslem in 1781 [sic], was acknowledged to be the most faithful likeness of the eminent person ever produced.

The bust was produced by Wood up until the 1820s, and widely copied. The early ones bear an inscription at the back, giving Wesley's age. This was updated each year until his death in 1791, at which time the inscription is changed to give the year and age at death. Thus the early copies are able to be dated; this example gives his age as 81, and so can be dated to 1784, the first year of production.

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Manufacturer Wood & Caldwell
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