Published 6th September 2012
I guess any patriotic individual would be able recall their country’s ‘war heroes’ and amongst them as an Englishman you would expect Nelson’s defeat of the French Navy at Trafalgar to be near the top of the list.
Staffordshire pottery: a portrait group of the Death of Admiral Nelson
Ten years later and the Duke of Wellington did the same to Napoleon’s Army at Waterloo. Deeply ingrained in the nation’s psyche there are plenty of well modelled and brightly coloured Staffordshire figures of both protagonists.
Staffordshire Pottery: a Thomas Parr figure of Wellington directing the battle at Waterloo
But why did ‘we’ make so many pottery figures of Napoleon Bonaparte? He is found in similar poses to Wellington and even playing the role of reposing intellectual at St Helena. Did we have a begrudging respect for a worthy opponent or was he seen as a bogey man? Can you see a mother pointing to old Boney on the mantelpiece and threatening little Tommy with a French invasion if he didn’t eat his greens?
Staffordshire Pottery: Napoleon as 'man of letters' whilst at St Helena and more traditionally in uniform.