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Figure of Nobody

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Figure of Nobody


Unknown (pottery)


J.W.L. Glaisher


tin-glazed earthenware
English delftware (sub-category)


anthropomorphic vessel


Earthenware, moulded, pierced, tin-glazed, and painted in blue, pale turquoise-green, yellow, and orange. Nobody stands with his feet together, his left hand resting on his hip, and his right hand outstretched and holding a pipe which he is puffing. The pipe was made separately and attached. The roughly circular mound base has a pierced border of single holes alternating with pairs of smaller holes, some of which are filled with glaze. The underside is initialled and dated 'M/RM/1675'

Production Place

Southwark (pottery) (place) ()

London (pottery) (place)

England (pottery) (country)

English (pottery) (nationality)

Technique Description

Tin-glazed earthenware, moulded, painted in blue, pale turquoise-green, yellow, and orange.


height: (whole): 23.3 cm


late 17th Century
Charles II




bequeathed: Glaisher, J.W.L., Dr 1928 (Filtered for: Applied Arts collection)

Cyril Andrade, London from whom purchased on 13 October 1926 for £21 by Dr Glaisher.

Dr. J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest


  1. inscription
    Position: on underside of base
    Method: painted in blue
    Content: M/RM/1675
    Interpretation: initials of owner and wife, and date, probably of manufacture


  1. Rackham, Bernard (1935 (reprinted Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge, 1987)) Catalogue of the Glaisher Collection of Pottery and Porcelain in the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Press [page: 182]
    [comments: Publ., Vol. I, p. 182, no. 1433, vol. II, pl. 101 B]
  2. (2005) Treasures of the Fitzwilliam Museum, London: Scala [page: 154]
  3. (1982) Treasures of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.): Pevensey Press [page: 69]
    [comments: Publ. p 69, no. 67]
  4. Poole, Julia E. (1995) Fitzwilliam Museum Handbooks, English Pottery, Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Press [page: 28-9]
    [comments: Publ., pp. 28-9, no. 9]
  5. Treasures of the Fitzwilliam Museum. An illustrated souvenir of the collections, [page: 154]
    [comments: Publ. Colour illustration with brief text]
  6. Calmann, Gerta (1960) The Picture of Nobody, London? [page: 60-104]
    [comments: Ref. For information about Nobody]
  7. Jörg, Christiaan J.A. To the Highest Bidder: the Auction of a Porcelain Shop in Amsterdam in 1778, London? [page: 71]
    [comments: Cf. p. 71, fig. 16, A Chinese porcelain figure of Nobody, painted underglaze in blue, with a removable hat enamelled in black, 24.5 cm. high, dated early 18th century. Groningen Museum, Groningen.]

Other Notes

Two more delftware Nobodies have survived: one, dated 1682 at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, the other in the Victoria and Albert Museum, where there is also a Chinese porcelain version. The last two have hat-shaped covers which suggests that the Fitzwilliam's probably had one too.

Accession Number

C.1433-1928 (Applied Arts)
(Reference Number: 71996; Input Date: 2002-11-20 / Last Edit: 2009-02-03)

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