1st Day of Christmas

A partridge in a pear tree

This pretty partridge figurine is made from soft-paste porcelain and decorated in enamel colours. It is part of the Lady Ludlow Collection. See its red legs – the red-legged partridge was introduced to Britain about 1770, whereas its grey cousin has been around since the last Ice Age. Both prefer living on the ground than in a pear tree.

The Lady Ludlow Collection began around 1910 by Alice  Sedgwick Mankiewicz, nicknamed ‘Birdie’ due to her love of bird, later Lady Ludlow. The collection formed over the two World Wars, is largely dominated by figurines of birds together with shepherdesses, cooks, goats and bees. These are joined by some impressive plates and vases.

A prominent figure in London society between the wars, Lady Ludlow was a close personal friend of Queen Mary, wife of King George V. By 1932 her remarkable collection had grown to over 500 outstanding pieces from the major English porcelain factories of the 18th century, including Chelsea, Bow, Worcester, and Derby. The collection was presented to the Museum by the Art Fund in 2004. Find more about the Lady Ludlow collection here.

Partridges are smaller than pheasants but bigger than quail. They cannot fly very well or far but they lay the biggest clutches of eggs of any birds; with 14 or 15 not unusual. And they are very attentive parents – greys can be remarkably brave (or foolhardy) in defence of their young.


Did you know? Baby partridges are called cheepers.


What year did the Museum acquire the partridge?

1770 1910 2004

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