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Minton : Staffordshire (c. 1793-1873)

Una and the Lion 1847-69

Parian porcelain | 35.6 x 35.0 x 17.3 cm (whole object) | RCIN 41773

Audience Room, Osborne House

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  • A parian porcelain statuette of a nude woman sitting sidesaddle on the back of a lion; the subject is Una and the Lion, the lion standing on rectangular plinth.

    This Parian-ware statuette was produced by Minton & Co. for Summerly's Art Manufactures from 1847 to the 1860s. The composition of Una and the the Lion is an original one, conceived and modelled by the sculptor John Bell (1881-1895) but the subject is taken from Edmund Spenser's poem Faerie Queene (1590). Una had earlier been associated with Queen Victoria, when William Wyon designed the £5 coin that depicted 'her majesty as Una, holding the scepter, with her guardian the lion, emblem of England'. Bell produced a full-size marble of Una and the Lion (now lost), which was shown at the Great Exhibition and then put on long-term display at the Crystal Palace in Sydenham. Although it is often assumed that the Parian-ware is a reduction of a full-size marble piece, in this instance the statuette predated the larger sculpture, in part, due to the success and high public demand for the Parian-ware original.

    This piece was marketed as a companion piece to another statuette entitled Ariadne and Panther (RCIN 52319), again modelled by Bell but copied from an original by the German sculptor Johann Heinrich Dannecker (1758-1841). Contemporary advertisements indicate that the Ariadne group was on sale before Una and the Lion, and thus probably provided the inspiration for the production of the pair.
  • Medium and techniques

    Parian porcelain


    35.6 x 35.0 x 17.3 cm (whole object)

  • Place of Production

    Staffordshire [England]

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.