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A8591 Statuette, 'You Dirty Boy!', metal, designed by Giovanni Focardi, London, England, date unknown, made by Wunderlich Limited, Redfern, Sydney, 1908-1920. Click to enlarge.

'You Dirty Boy!' statuette

Designed
Statuette, 'You Dirty Boy!', stamped metal, designed by Giovanni Focardi, made by as an advertisement for Pears soap by Wunderlich Limited, Redfern, Sydney, 1908-1920, to advertise Pears soap

A stamped metal (apparently zinc or tinplate) statuette of an old woman washing behind a young boys ears. A wash tub is placed to one side of the figures with 'foam' dripping over its side onto a platform. Features are attached to an octagonal platform. All are painted a terracotta colour.

Stamped on …

Summary

Object No.

A8591

Object Statement

Statuette, 'You Dirty Boy!', metal, designed by Giovanni Focardi, London, England, date unknown, made by Wunderlich Limited, Redfern, Sydney, 1908-1920

Physical Description

Statuette, 'You Dirty Boy!', stamped metal, designed by Giovanni Focardi, made by as an advertisement for Pears soap by Wunderlich Limited, Redfern, Sydney, 1908-1920, to advertise Pears soap

A stamped metal (apparently zinc or tinplate) statuette of an old woman washing behind a young boys ears. A wash tub is placed to one side of the figures with 'foam' dripping over its side onto a platform. Features are attached to an octagonal platform. All are painted a terracotta colour.

Stamped on the wash tub:'Pears Soap'. Stamped at rear of the base:'Wunderlich Limited Sydney'. At left of the base: 'The property of A&F Pears Ltd, Sydney & London'. Stamped at right of the base: 'Published May 1878. Copyright England France Germany Italy Denmark United States'.

Dimensions

Height

670 mm

Width

350 mm

Depth

380 mm

Production

Notes

Wunderlich became a public company in 1908, when the 'Wunderlich Limited' name used on the statuette became commonly used.

History

Notes

Giovanni Focardi (1842-1903) was born in Florence and studied under Enrico Pazzi before moving to London in 1875. He produced mainly portrait sculptures and genre works, including 'You Dirty Boy'. A & F Pears, soap manufacturers, commissioned Focardi to produce this statue, which was exhibited at the Paris Exhibition Universelle, 1878. Pears also purchased the right to produce copies of the statue as advertisements for Pears Soap.

According to George Augustus Sala's travelogue Paris Herself Again, published in London in 1878, 'Signor Giovanni Focardi's uncompromisingly comic statue...which has set so many hundreds of thousand folks, gentle and simple, screaming with merriment in Paris is, however, only a model in plaster of the original work, which is a group in marble, commissioned from the sculptor by the very old firm of English soap-makers...The marble of the 'Dirty Boy ' is not yet complete, but so soon as it leaves Signor Focardi's studio it is to be permanently exhibited at the London establishment of Messrs. Pears. The copyright of the work goes of course with the statue, and the 'Dirty Boy' will probably henceforth be the legally-protected trade-mark for the wares produced by Messrs. A. & F. Pears.'

Focardi's statue was exhibited by A&F Pears with the company's soap display at the Sydney International Exhibition, 1879. As it did not feature in the art and sculpture displays and is thus not descibed in the Exhibition catalogue, it is not clear whether this Focardi statue was rendered in marble, plaster or terra cotta. A post card distributed by Pears at the Exhibition (90/1077) advertises 'Terra Cotta Copies (25 inches high) £12. each, delivered in Sydney'.

The postcard also copies an 1878 letter from Focardi insisting that 'the Statuette now exhibiting at the Paris Exhibition...is a commission in the marble from Messrs. A&F Pears...and the price they paid for it was £500'.

Wunderlich Limited later made metal copies of Focardi's statue for Pears in Sydney.

First produced by Andrew Pear in 1780, Pears was the first transparent soap manufactured, and the first soap to use glycerin as an ingredient. Pears was notable for the use of art in its advertising, most famously the John Everett Millais' painting, 'Bubbles'.

A&F Pears was taken over by Lever Brothers about 1915.

Charles Pickett, Curator.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased with funds donated by W H Soul Pattinson & Co Ltd, Sydney, 1980

Acquisition Date

8 August 1980

Cite this Object

Harvard

'You Dirty Boy!' statuette 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 23 June 2021, <https://ma.as/198944>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/198944 |title='You Dirty Boy!' statuette |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=23 June 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.