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Auction will bring back to life one of Norfolk’s most notorious Victorian murders

PUBLISHED: 13:32 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:32 23 July 2018

Four Staffordshire pottery mementoes of one of Norfolk’s most notorious Victorian murderers are to go under the hammer.

Thousands of people travelled from all over the county and beyond to witness the hanging of double murderer James Bloomfield Rush in 1849.

Rush, a farmer at Potash Farm, near Wymondham, was found guilty of the murder of his landlord Isaac Jermy, the Recorder of Norwich, and his son, also called Isaac, who lived at nearby Stanfield Hall.

The case was widely reported and attracted national interest, having all the ingredients of a dark Victorian melodrama – including the fact that Rush’s mistress, Emily Sandford, was a witness for the prosecution. It was her evidence that helped to convict Rush of the double murder.

The Staffordshire pottery ‘flatback’ figures of Rush and Emily, as well as models of Potash Farm and Stanfield Hall, are up for auction at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers’ summer Fine Sale in Aylsham next week, and are expected to sell for up to £600 each.

Keys ceramics expert David Broom said: “The Rush case was one of the most celebrated murder trials of Victorian England, and thousands of people travelled to Norwich Castle to see him meet his end in 1849.

“For many working class Victorians wanting to follow the fashion for collecting, but with limited means, the Staffordshire potteries produced an ever-increasing range of ‘flat-back’ pottery figures. These were flat on the reverse to keep costs down and to fit nicely on Victorian mantlelpieces.

“The range of figures represented almost every facet of Victorian society from 1840 onwards, including royalty, statesmen and politicians, military and theatrical figures, religious figures and well-known people including notorious murderers whose crimes were reported in lurid detail by an expanding newspaper industry.”

The Staffordshire figures relating to James Rush will go under the hammer on the first day of Keys three day Fine Sale, which runs from Tuesday, July 24 to Thursday, July 26. More details at www.keysauctions.co.uk

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