The Collector’s Attic: Let’s Get a Closer Look at the Metal Statues on Those Shelves

Thursday, June 12, 2014 by

Dear Readers;
Have you been enjoying the little trips through my attic that I've shared in the last several  issues of the Courier? I sure hope so! You might be curious about some of the figurines you can only see remotely in some of those photographs so I thought I would zoom in on a few of them for this article.
One of my favourite kind of statue is the kind made out of metal. The feathering often has such wonderful detail and they are less likely to break (smile). A company with which I am very pleased is Rawcliffe Pewter.  The company was founded, according to a Google search, in 1903 and produces everything from dragons to movie action star figures all in pewter.
They have been especially good to us Setter collectors. There are many items featuring Setters in their catalogue. Some have been discontinued. I have tried to keep track of any new designs so I can add them to my collection while the price is still 'open market'.
Rawcliffe has done keychains in many breeds and in more than one size and design. I took the links for holding keys off one of the Setter head studies and made a necklace out of it, it is that nice. The front of the smaller head study has the dog's features on it and the back has a red plastic inset heart with the breed's name.
I have placed them on a yardstick so you can get an idea of the size. Isn't the detail on the larger one lovely? Both sides are detailed.
There are many more Irish Setters and other breeds in the Rawcliffe line and in different sizes too. Sometimes the statues were remade with subtle changes. Some were created for Christmas display use. One little Setter with a white bone in his mouth is supposed to be sliding on an icy pond. Another is pictured with a veterinarian. Still another is peeking around a fireplug. One of the fun things, to me anyhow, that Rawcliffe does is to add colorful painted areas to some of its figures. Following are pictures of Rawcliffe statues with some tiny pewter dogs here and there that are of unknown origin.
The large Irish Setter statue is very heavy and I was told it was a limited edition model. You can see in some of the pictures I have a line up of what appears to be the same statue. Those are the ones that were remade over the years. Check out the ears on them and the position of the heads, that is where I noticed the changes in most of them.
Another company I like is the Wilton Armetale Company. It was founded in 1892 in Wrightsville, PA according to an online search. However the statue I have has a different Pennsylvania town etched on the bottom (USA). Armetale, I was told at the time I purchased my dog, is a composite of pewter and other metals. It looks like pewter but is shiny whereas pewter is usually of a dull finish. Armetale items are also manufactured in the dull finish making them look even more like pewter. I have a commemorative mug from my late father's employer in that finish. An ebay listing describes Armetale as an aluminum based alloy.
I did a search on the company's website and found no dogs listed so am guessing that line was discontinued. I am glad I got mine when I did. There is a quaint shopping village in Flemington, New Jersey (USA). One of the shops was a Wilton Outlet store and that is where I purchased mine many many years ago. Because I bought mine directly from the company's store, I am more likely to go with the 'pewter composite' explanation for its makeup.
The next is another large dog, like the Wilton. This one is a favourite because of the copper colouring-perfect for an Irish Setter. I could find no markings on this dog as to manufacturer, artist, or year it was made. It is old, I can tell that from the way it is made. It is put together from several pieces instead of just being one solid piece or two halves soldered together. You can see the lines where the pieces were joined. I wonder if it was made like that or broken and put back together? It is metal so would have taken quite a fall if the latter is the case. Anyway, it is pretty and I wanted to share it just for that reason.
For fun I am going to share some more of my metal items here. The little dark Setter in laying pose is a miniature Heredities line. Heredities produced several Irish Setter statues in a larger size and I have written about them in the past. The little round piece next to it is a small plate with an Irish Setter in the center of the picture on it.
I bought a large Czech Republic pewter Setter because it reminded me of my Renegade . He had this long tongue and the statue does too! I may have shared this one in a past article but, please forgive my nostalgic entry of it again here.
This little pin was perfect for me. A Setter and a cat!! I have cats too and all my Setters-past and present-have loved cats and vice versa.  You know I could not pass this little goodie up!
One of my favorite statues is this last one. You could have your dog's name etched on the metal plate on the base of the statue.  It has a hard plastic cover to protect the finish when displaying it. Very nicely done. The dog is standing on grassy base with flowers and a log to add to the beauty of the scene. It is labeled number 818 Irish Setter. Unfortunately there is no manufacturer's name on it. The company did the engraving for free with purchase though.
I am dedicating this column to my beloved Mercy Cat who died yesterday. She was very sweet and very special to all of us including my Danny (Irish Setter). Too young. Taken too soon by cancer. Loving us to her last breath.
Until next time...happy collecting and please share your finds with me!
Gail

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