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Standing Staffordshire porcelain figurine of Protestant Irish nationalist convict William Smith O'Brien

2007.0048.0003

Standing Staffordshire porcelain figurine of Protestant Irish nationalist convict William Smith O'Brien

Object information

Physical description

A porcelain figurine of a male standing bare foot and leaning against a pink-striped pole. He is wearing a white shirt and trousers that have gold line around the edges of the cuffs and shirt collar. The figure's wrists are chained together with gold manacles.

Statement of significance

The Staffordshire Figurine Collection comprises three polychrome enamelled ceramic figurines of: Captain Cook seated at a small table; William Smith O'Brien seated and in chains; and O'Brien standing and dressed as a convict. Each figure dates from the late 1840s and shows evidence of minor restoration. The collection is in good condition.

William Smith O'Brien was an Irish nationalist and politician, and a major figure of the Catholic emancipation movement. His death sentence for treason was commuted to transportation for life to Van Diemen's Land, where he served 4 years before receiving a pardon. Captain Cook's voyages of discovery between 1768 and 1779 laid the groundwork for Britain's expanded Colonial empire and the establishment of settlements in Australia and New Zealand. Cook's maritime and scientific achievements and the popularity of published accounts of his voyages made him a celebrity whose portrait was keenly sought long after his death.

Object information

When

  • Associated period

  • 1848-1854
    Apply 1848-1854 filter
  • Convict O'Brien arrived in Tasmania on 27 October 1848 and left Tasmania for Europe on 6 July 1854 after he was granted a conditional pardon

Who

  • Subject

  • William S. O'Brien
    Apply William S. O'Brien filter
  • O'Brien was a Protestant Irish nationalist who led an unsuccessful rising against police in Widow McCormack's cabbage garden at Ballingarry in Co Tipperary, Ireland, on 29 July 1848, and was sentenced to transportation for life

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