- Last Updated on Saturday, 05 January 2013 19:13
- Published on Wednesday, 16 June 2010 05:00
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A couple in the lower Northern Neck has an interesting story about these two Staffordshire pieces. The one of the two Turkish soldiers standing in front of the mosque represents a scene from the Crimean War. They bought it at an antique shop in North Carolina more than 30 years ago. The spires have slight damage to the tops, and indicate a crude effort at restoration many years ago.
The piece on the right in the photograph is contemporary to the other. It shows a couple reading the newspaper under a tree. The headline in the paper reads, “WAR.” In short, they are learning the news about the Crimean War from the press reports. The piece came from the legendary Staffordshire connoisseur Carroll B. Barnes about 20 years ago on one of his visits to his family homes in the Northern Neck. The paint tones on each piece indicate that the same artist in the Staffordshire factory likely painted them.
The reunion of these two pieces is indeed a stroke of good fortune. At the time of the Crimean War, 1853 to 1856, England was the dominant nation in Europe. The Staffordshire pottery factories responded to the War with production of items such as these to engender patriotic fervor for the war effort, as well as to generate sales to the British middle class.
These two figurines complement each other, and should be displayed together. Carroll Barnes, who goes by his nickname “Bob,” is the son of a gentleman from Northumberland and a lady from Irvington. For decades he was one of the principal Staffordshire collectors in America, and the recognized authority on its history and values. A few years ago he sold his own vast collection and retired. He lives outside Philadelphia, and will turn 80 on June 30.