Boer War Page 12n
Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries
Go to Ceramics List
Below are some educational guidelines should you want to buy a genuine antique.

Fake Staffordshire Boer War Generals

Guess Again!

Also note the kind of unique melange of greenery that is often found in Staffordshire generals. Very distinctly different from the quick and faint brushwork of a few strands of grass on the whitish fake.

Note the way that age has flaked off paint at random spots from the signatures of the seven genuine Staffordshires. Buller's has suffered the most.

On the fake, the artist has dipped her brush once and let it wear off as she wrote the name, just like in letters written with a pen dipped in ink the way they used to in the old days. The "wear" happened as she painted and her brush lost paint, say last month or last year! It does not show age at all.

The real antiques lost paint in patches, through eons of time, like on Roberts and Burnaby below .

Whoops! Did we say something about melange of greenery!

The statue of Colonel Burnaby above is vintage Staffordshire all right, and not a fake, but does not have the greenery the others have.

Different production runs from other periods varied in how they used colour and where. For example, Burnaby's face top, is the most heavily painted of all the others. The reason - Burnaby is not Boer War, and dates from the Sudan campaign of 1885. Fifteen years later artistic techniques had changed for the Boer War generals.

below Crazing happens when strong temperature variations crack the glaze over time. Many antique collectors think if it's crazed it's a real old antique! Crazing on this fake has been artificially created to fool naive buyers into thinking it's old, and probably is uniform across the entire figure, a dead give-away!

Real crazing often develops patchily when done by Father Time. The best - no crazing at all.

above The vent holes - to let off pressure from inside the statue and prevent it blowing up during the firing process - on almost all the generals we've seen, are in the back. Some, like a tall standing Lord Roberts figure, have two. The holes are often somewhat centrally located.

below The fake has the vent in the bottom, which, from our experience, is very rare in Staffordshire generals.

Below left, the fake, probably made in the sweat shops in China; the other, a genuine Staffordshire General Buller, made in the sweatshops of Victorian England. Maybe the mold from the fake was even made from this one.

You can also see the "see-through" casting on the real Staffordshires around the horse's legs. This made them look much more life-like and attractive, but extremely fragile, so many broke and were thrown out. The modern repro production coordinator decided that this is one headache he didn't need and so cast a more solid chunk of ceramic ware to survive the wear and tear of transport, by yak , rickshaw, and junk from China.

Hopefully, your eye is now better equipped to sort out the repros from the real Boer War generals.

Guess - Who's the Fake?

Baden-Powell Macdonald Roberts
Roberts You Faker Kitchener
Baden-Powell Buller French
Baden-Powell Kitchener
Burnaby
French Still stumped?
The fake has a white face. The real Staffordshires differ from the fake in making use of a wider palate of colours in the face, and have a semi-realistic complexion, or skin tone paint, applied there to make it more lifelike.

But overall the palate of colours used tends to be quite uniform.

Real Staffordshires also sport "rosy cheeks" of various intensities.

And often there are signs of paint loss wherever the original colour has been applied in the past..

If you want to know who they are, linger your cursor over the face!

Staffordshire potteries, located in six small towns, now called Stoke-on-Trent, in England, have been famous for pottery manufacturing for three hundred years.

During the Boer War, from 1899-1902, a series of Staffordshire generals was produced to satisfy the public craving for celebrity figures of what was a very popular war - in the beginning. Many of these found their way into Canadian homes and turn up at auctions or antique stores. Often they have repairs or damage so serious collectors have to get good copies for their Canadiana collections, internationally.

In recent times these figures have also become the target of reproduction manufacturers, who get an original, make a mold, and then try to repaint it, and craze it, to make it look like the real antique.

Below are some possible cautionaries about how to tell the fakes from the real ones.

The comments below are necessarily tentative, and are restricted only to the Boer War generals and not other lines of ceramics Staffordshire may have made at other times.

Go to All about Staffordshire Generals
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Staffordshire Figure, General Sir Redvers Buller 1899
Orig. ceramic statue - Size - 12"
Found - Glasgow, UK

Back to Top
c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000