Pearlware pottery Martha Gunn Toby jug, circa 1820

Martha Gunn (1726–1815) was possibly the most famous of the “dippers”, certainly the most famous in Brighton. She lived at 36 East Street, Brighton, in a house that still stands. Her grave stone stands in St Nicholas’ churchyard in Brighton. A dipper was the operator of a bathing machine used by women bathers. The dipper pushed the machine into and out of the water and helped the bather into and out of the water. A dipper had to be large and strong to carry out this work and Martha Gunn fulfilled both requirements. Martha Gunn was well known in the town and also known across the country. Her image appeared in many popular engravings including one in which she appeared repelling the invading French with a mop. In another she is seen standing behind Mrs Fitzherbert and The Prince of Wales (the future George IV). Martha Gunn was said to be a favourite of the Prince of Wales and had free access to the royal kitchens.

Height: 10 ½”

Condition: Hat and base chips restored

 

Stock number: 44279

£980

US$1323