On mound base decorated with painted floral sprigs. She wears a pale pink-mauve washed shift with iron-red sleeves and cloak, pale mauve and pink stomacher and a sprigged white shirt, a tied head scarf and patterned neck scarf and pink stockings with black shoes. She carries a large basket over her right arm displaying peddler’s wares including needle cards, spectacles, buckles and scissors, and carries a large paddle reading ‘The Last Speech’. Even white glaze with underside of base partially wiped and with a small circular air hole. Green translucency.
Provenance: Taylor Collection; Stockspring Antiques, London, 2003.
The form of the figure is that of a later reissue of the Bow female beggar (or street seller), circa 1752, as Collection #265, based either on the engravings of the Cris de Paris after Edme Bouchardon, 1737, or after the Kӓndler series of Meissen models, circa 1740-48, adapted therefrom.
The date of this later reissue, however, and the sophistication of dress and and richness of the wares, (and possibly the somewhat more assertive stance of the figure), combined with the wording on the paddle proclaiming the ‘Last Speech’, suggest that this later version was intended as a commemorative of Margaret (Peg) Woffington, one of the great eighteenth century actresses. Her career ended through a paralytic stroke during her delivery of the epilogue as Rosalind in As You Like It at Covent Garden in May 1757 and who died in March 1760 in her early to mid-forties. As a former street seller in Dublin, Woffington is said to have become a legend in her own lifetime, and as such, part of the Bow tradition of theatrical figures, and this figure was possibly a memento mori for sale at the pleasure gardens.
Stock Number 4851