ca.1858 (made)

Height: 23.2 cm, Width: 9.3 cm, Depth: 7.0 cm

S.1651-2014 T&P

Madame Angiolina Bosio (1829-1859) as Lady Enrichette in Friedrich Von Flotow's opera Martha, Covent Garden 1 July 1858. Glazed earthenware, Staffordshire, ca.1849

Glazed earthenware figurine representing Angiolina Bosio as Lady Enrichette in Friedrich Von Flotow's opera Martha, standing on an ochre-glazed base in turn on a white base decorated with a gilt line. She is holding a small bag in her right hand - possibly a money bag, her left hand resting on the peplum of her dress. She is wearing a deep blue jacket with a pink and yellow spotted peplum over a green skirt, and a red and green striped sash. She wears a white hat with green and coral plumes. The hair and jacket are coloured on the back of the figurine, but the skirt remains uncoloured.

The Italian mezzosoprano Angiolina Bosio (1830-1859), born in Turin, had a major international career and would probably be better known today but for her premature death at the age of twenty-eight. The child of actor parents, she sang in prductions with them from the age of ten. She studied singing in Milan from 1840 until 1847 with Venceslao Cattaneo and made her professional debut in Milan in July 1846 aged fifteen as Lucrezia Contarini at in Giuseppe Verdi's opera I Due Foscari. In 1847 she made successful appearances at opera houses in Copenhagen and Madrid, and made her debut at the Paris Opera in 1848 as Lucrezia Continari. She embarked on a North American tour from 1848 until 1851, appearing in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Havana, and returned to Europe in 1851, the year of her marriage to Panayotis di Xindavelonis. Frederick Gye first engaged Bosio to appear at Covent Garden in 1852 when she made her debut as Adina in Gaetano Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, and later that year performed successfully as Elvira in Vincenzo Bellini's I Puritani, and in the title role of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, in which she replaced Giulia Grisi. She returned to London the following season when she played Gilda in the English premiere of Verdi's Rigoletto. By 1858 when she played Lady Enrichetta in the opera Martha by Friedrich Von Flotow (1812-1883) she was a favourite with London audiences, comanding high salaries wherever she performed. She sang Lady Enrichetta with Mario as Lionello and received favourable reviews, especially for their duet sung to the tune of 'The last rose of summer' in which one critic commented on the audience being: 'fairly spell-bound during its progress'. After her successful appearance in London in Martha she returned to St. Petersburg later that year where she was nominated première cantrice, but where she became ill and died in April 1859 and was buried in the cathedral vaults. Simply-modelled Staffordshire figurines like this were popular mass-produced items in the mid 19th-century, made from moulds and based on contemporary prints. Intended as mantelpiece decoration for display against a wall there was rarely any detail or colouring on the backs, which gave rise to the soubriquet of some of them as 'flat-backs'. This figurine is coloured to the waist at the back, but the back of the skirt is uncoloured.

An adhesive paper label on the base for the P.D. Gordon Pugh Collection of Victorian Staffordshire Figurines shows that this was in Pugh's collection before it was acquired by Anthony Gasson, from whose collection the museum purchased the figurine.

Gasson Collection

Location: In Storage

View this object on the V&A website