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Mementoes of notorious Victorian Norfolk murder fetch £1,420

PUBLISHED: 12:17 31 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:17 31 July 2018

19th century Staffordshire model of Potash Farm. Pictures: Kim Latimer

19th century Staffordshire model of Potash Farm. Pictures: Kim Latimer

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Four Staffordshire pottery mementoes of one of Norfolk's most notorious Victorian murderers have gone under the hammer fletching more than £1,400.

Stanfield Hall murder 1848. Pictured: The murderer James Blomfield Rush. Picture: EDP LibraryStanfield Hall murder 1848. Pictured: The murderer James Blomfield Rush. Picture: EDP Library

Thousands of people travelled from all over the county and beyond to witness the hanging of double murderer James Bloomfield Rush in 1849.

Rush, a farmer at Potash Farm, near Wymondham, was found guilty of the murder of his landlord Isaac Jermy, the Recorder of Norwich, and his son, also called Isaac, who lived at nearby Stanfield Hall.

The case was widely reported and attracted national interest, having all the ingredients of a dark Victorian melodrama – including the fact that Rush’s mistress, Emily Sandford, was a witness for the prosecution. It was her evidence that helped to convict Rush of the double murder.

Lot 135: Mid 19th century Staffordshire figure of James B Rush, estimate £300-£500. Picture: Kim LatimerLot 135: Mid 19th century Staffordshire figure of James B Rush, estimate £300-£500. Picture: Kim Latimer

The murder became so notorious that a life-size waxwork representation of Rush was displayed in the Chamber of Horrors at Madame Tussauds in London, from 1849 until 1971.

While Staffordshire Potteries produced collectable figures of Rush and Sandford, plus the main locations Potash Farm, Stanfield Hall and Norwich Castle

Examples of these pottery ‘flatback’ figures of Rush and Emily, as well as models of Potash Farm and Stanfield Hall, went up for auction at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers in Aylsham last week, selling for a total of £1,420, in line with the estimates.

Lot 136: Mid 19th century Staffordshire figure of Emily Sandford, estimate £300-£400. Picture: Kim LatimerLot 136: Mid 19th century Staffordshire figure of Emily Sandford, estimate £300-£400. Picture: Kim Latimer

Keys ceramics expert David Broom said: “The Rush case was one of the most celebrated murder trials of Victorian England, and thousands of people travelled to Norwich Castle to see him meet his end in 1849.

“For many working class Victorians wanting to follow the fashion for collecting, but with limited means, the Staffordshire potteries produced an ever-increasing range of ‘flat-back’ pottery figures. These were flat on the reverse to keep costs down and to fit nicely on Victorian mantlelpieces.

“The range of figures represented almost every facet of Victorian society from 1840 onwards, including royalty, statesmen and politicians, military and theatrical figures, religious figures and well-known people including notorious murderers whose crimes were reported in lurid detail by an expanding newspaper industry.”

Stanfield Hall murder 1848. Pictured: The victim, Isaac Jermy. Picture: EDP LibraryStanfield Hall murder 1848. Pictured: The victim, Isaac Jermy. Picture: EDP Library

The ‘flatback’ figures of Rush and Emily sold for £350 each, and models of Potash Farm and Stanfield Hall sold for £360 each.

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