Parian Figurine

June 30, 2014 Posted by: David R. Daly

A parian figurine of a young Scottish couple, from the Kennedy family's Beals Street home.

Displayed on a small table at the front of the living room is the figurine shown above. It depicts a young man and woman, dressed in late 18th or early 19th century attire. The couple is likely Scottish, as the figure of the young man wears a traditional Scottish Glengarry cap. The figurine is made of parian, a type of bisque porcelain initially created as a form of imitation marble. First used in the mid 19th century by English manufacturers of porcelain figurines and busts, parian ware made mass production of these pieces possible due to the fact that it could be poured into a mold in liquid form, thereby vastly increasing the rate at which pieces were created.

The significance of this piece to the Kennedy family is unknown, as it appears to depict a Scottish couple, rather than an Irish couple. According to research materials, the piece may have originally been in the Beals Street house during the Kennedys' residency, or at least was owned by the family prior to Mrs. Rose F. Kennedy's rehabilitation project of the family's first home as a memorial to her son President John F. Kennedy. The piece seems to have been a personal possession of Mrs. Kennedy as well; the name "Rose" is inscribed on the bottom in pencil.


Last updated: June 30, 2014

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