With the flooding in High River in the news these days, I have been thinking back to our road trip to Saskatchewan and Alberta in September and October of last year and the frame drumming workshop we did there. The tour focused on Saskatoon SK, High River Alberta, and Lloydminster Alberta.
While Betty Lynn taught her introductory classes in frame drumming, I was off to explore the countryside. I did not find a significant frame drum artifact in High River, but I did find something of interest in an antique store called "Sentimental Journey Antiques" which occupies a magnificent old storefront in Nanton, Alberta, just down the highway south of High River. What I found there was a seven and a half inch figurine which the shop owner described as an "1800's Victorian Staffordshire Figurine." I was not sure if she was right, but the figure was attractive and the price was reasonable; and so the purchase was made.
Looking at other examples of early Victorian Staffordshire wares online, I can see the possibility that I may have purchased a genuine Staffordshire piece. This figure is clearly of earthenware and heavy in comparison to our pieces in porcelain or china. There are no markings on the base which is common for early Staffordshire and it is decorated on all sides which suggests that it is an early nineteenth century piece. In the latter part of that century only the front sides were usually painted. It is possible that this figure was originally part of a set of four, as I found two other examples of such sets with one of the figures representing Spring holding a tambourine. The choice of a frame drummer for Spring is most fitting: it is the season of resurrection and new birth through the Coming of the Spirit.
Again, if anyone has further insight on what we have here, I would really appreciate hearing from them. Thanks.