Grotesque Dwarves

Somewhere between 1612 and 1621 Jacques Callot, an English nobleman, became a master engraver whose work was sought by important people from France, England and Spain, including, notably, Rembrandt. His focus was on was England’s poorest people. He sketched ‘grotesque people’ who made money at the market by selling viewings to their disfigured bodies. His subject was the degradation of human performance. One of his most famous sketches, ‘Grotesque Dwarves,’ is based on a father and son team of dwarves who walked around the market with advertisements on their over sized hats. They charged for these advertisement spaces and thus became the first human billboards before the proliferation of branding.

Jacques Callot's Etching of the Grotesque Dwarves

It is surprising, then, that these sketches inspired Derby porcelain to make beautiful figures. The fineness of the Derby renditions of the Grotesque Dwarves show a true reverence for both subject and artist.

One of our Crown Derby Dwarves, circa 1970. His hat reads, "The Theatre Royal Haymarket. Tomorrow the 'Hunchback' with the 'Rent Day' and 'John Jones' on Tuesday with an original comedy called 'The 18th' . To comclude wtih 'Popping the Question' and other entertainments"

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2 Comments

  1. Toronto Antiques on King
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the comment! Just keep checking in, we try to post often.

  2. Posted March 30, 2012 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

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