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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]