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Stone ware figurine, Taurus the Bull by Arnold Machin - c.1941

Stone ware figurine, Taurus the bull by Arnold Machin, © Wedgwood Museum
    Stone ware figurine, Taurus the bull by Arnold Machin
    © Wedgwood Museum

This stone ware figurine of ‘Taurus the Bull’ was modelled by artist Arnold Machin. In 1940 Arnold Machin became the first full-time figure modeller to be employed at Wedgwood’s Barlaston factory and produced many pieces in a variety of ceramic bodies, including Queen’s ware, Windsor grey and terra cotta.

This stone ware figurine of ‘Taurus the Bull’ was modelled by artist Arnold Machin. In 1940 Arnold Machin became the first full-time figure modeller to be employed at Wedgwood’s Barlaston factory and produced many pieces in a variety of ceramic bodies, including Queen’s ware, Windsor grey and terra cotta. The pieces he created for Wedgwood during the Second World War were simple so that they required the minimum of craftsmanship to produce a good result, a reaction to the fact that many of the factory’s personnel were involved in war-work. This version of ‘Taurus the bull’ is a working model for the final piece and was made C.1941. It was created in unglazed stoneware, using a simple mould comprising of two halves and the signs of the zodiac are scratched into the surface, a method of application known as sgraffito. These signs were designed specifically for this piece by Machin. There are final examples of this piece also in the Wedgwood Museum’s collection which have lithographed versions of the signs of the zodiac. When this item went into production it was immensely popular and reportedly sold well for over 30 years.

  • Type of object: Portraits and figures/figurine
  • Mark: A. M. 6
    [Handwritten in black]
  • Year produced: c.1941
  • Body: stoneware
  • Glaze: unglazed
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: sgraffitto
  • Accession number: 9151
  • Dimensions: Height: 156 mm, Depth: 380 mm, Width: 130 mm

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  • Arnold Machin Modeller

    Arnold Machin - Modeller (1911 - 1999)

    Machin was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1911. He started work at the age of 14 as an apprentice china painter at the Minton Pottery, and during the Depression he learnt to sculpt at the Art School in Stoke-on-Trent. He later moved to Derby, and the Royal Academy in London. After spending the Second World War as a conscientious objector, he returned to modelling and sculpture, and created many notable ceramics which are now prized collectors' items. In 1946 he was elected an associate member of the Royal Academy, was appointed a Master of Sculpture from 1959 to 1966 and became the longest-serving member of the Academy. He was elected an Academician in 1956 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. From 1951 he was a tutor at the Royal College of Art, where he entered the culture that was to bring him his most celebrated commissions. He was probably best remembered for the designing of the new decimal coinage effigies of Queen Elizabeth in 1964 and 1967 and for the definitive issue of postage stamps in 1967.