Pair of Slipware Dove or Cuckoo Call Bird Whistles, Halifax, Yorkshire, England, 1755

An exceptionally rare pair of bird whistles, in a ‘Whieldon’ style glaze representing a mother surrounded by her four fledglings in the branches of a tree.

The realistic call could be made by blowing through the end of the tail and alternately opening and closing the small hole on the chest of the bird, producing a two-tone bird call very similar to a dove or cuckoo. It is highly probable that these skilfully modelled cuckoo calls were made and decorated by the women and older girls within the family of potters.

Artistic and beautifully tactile, they were made as ornaments to sit on the mantlepiece above a large fireplace or in the window bottoms of provincial Yorkshire farmhouses. Fired by master potters, these bird whistles were coated with a lead glaze and dabbed with manganese oxide, the intense heat and flames within the very large kiln (which was designed to hold a multitude of domestic wares) would flash the glaze in a controlled way, reproducing the wonderful and much-admired Tortoiseshell flowing glaze-effect pioneered in the 18th century by Thomas Whieldon.

Early to mid-19th century

9 ¼’’ H x 7’’ W x 7’’ D     o/a approx.

In good condition, one small bird restored and overall with only minor surface wear commensurate with age and use.

£1250   $1556-USD

Ref Number: 222182A
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