I spotted this unusual piece of Staffordshire pottery in the catalogue for a forthcoming sale at an auction house in Yorkshire. As you can see, it’s a jug which has been fashioned into the shape of a large Russian bear clutching the terrified form of Napoleon Bonaparte between its paws. The figure of Napoleon has been crudely crafted from three pieces of clay which form the head, body and an oversized bicorn hat that bears the inscription ‘Boney’.
The jug doesn’t carry any makers marks but was presumably manufactured sometime between 1812 and 1814, when England was gripped by a craze for items celebrating the failure of Napoleon’s Russian campaign and the Russian contribution to the war against France.
The jug stands about 12 inches high and carries an estimate of £400 – £600.