This is a lovely piece of British antique kitchenalia.
It take the form of a nesting hen sitting on a basket - under her wing is tucked a little chick.
This lovely example dates to the late 19th century and was made by one of the English Staffordshire potteries.
The hen has a matt finish to the paintwork - and this example is quite exquisitely decorated. The many colours of the bird's feathers are grey in tone - with rust-red flashes on her breast - wattle and comb. A black and white striped tail and matching wings. There are also little raised white dots to give texture all over her back and on top of her wings. The base of the lid has a green edge.
It is quite unusual to find a hen sitting - not on her eggs - but with a little newly hatched chick under her wings. There is a little chick under each wing.
My bird is in very good condition - there are no losses to the paintwork - apart from a very tiny bit of rubbing to the coxcomb - but very minor in nature and commensurate with age.
There is a little (and very old) nibble or graze to the rim on the underside - very shallow and discoloured with age, and a very fine (and again old) hairline crack - which I think looks more like it has been done in the firing - and confined to the surface inside - hard to see unless you look in close up. Very minor issues of age and fine and to be expected on a hen of this age.
The base or nest section is also in good condition. The interior is white and glossy with no staining - and with a little (and again very old) graze to the rim which is under the rim surface and not seen on display - nothing to worry about and again very minor. The basketweave decoration on the base is nice and golden yellow with more of a shine to the glaze and is generally in excellent condition.
I don't think that my lovely nesting hen has ever been used to store eggs in - and from the condition, I would expect that this has been in a display cabinet for most of its life. Indeed - in as nice a condition as you might expect to see.
A nice smaller size for display in a showcase or cabinet.
The measurements are as follows: from the beak to the end of tail feathers is about 7 1/4 inches. The height from the top of the tail feathers to the bottom of the nest base is about 7 inches.
The base section measures 6 1/2 x 5 1/4 x 2 inches.
Just a lovely example of these highly collectable nesting hens on a basket - and rarer given her nesting on little chickens instead of eggs.