The 1827 killing of Maria Marten came to be known as “the Red Barn Murder,” a crime so sensational that it spawned its own genre of art. And Red Barn Murder commemorations are still highly sought-after. Exhibit A: this charming ceramic rendering, which sold for nearly $20,000 in 2010.


The auction house description gives more details on the pieces, which are from 1828, and the history behind them:

On titled table bases, comprising ‘The Red Barn’, the thatched building flanked by bocage, William Corder standing by the open door, beckoning to Maria Marten to join him inside, a pig and some chickens in the farmyard before them, 22.5cm high (small loss to bocage, small figure of Corden broken and restuck with one arm lacking, some chips and areas of old restoration), a group of the murderer and his victim, ‘W Corder and M Marten’ standing hand in hand, she with a floral dress and straw bonnet, 20.5cm high (fine cracks, loss to flowers in her hat), and a figure of ‘W Corder before the judge’, his right hand in his trouser pocket, his left hand held to his chest, 19.5cm high.

...William Corder was a tenant farmer who began a relationship with Maria Marten in 1826. Maria had already given birth to two illegitimate children, one fathered by Thomas, older brother of William Corder. Her third child, fathered by William, was born in 1827 and died shortly afterwards. In May 1827, William arranged to meet Maria at The Red Barn in order that they could travel together to Ipswich to marry. Maria was never seen again. Her body was later found under the barn. She had been shot and stabbed. Meanwhile, Corder had travelled to London and advertised for a wife.

In 1828, he was convicted at the Crown Court in Bury St Edmunds of the murder of Maria Marten and was sentenced to death by hanging, his body to be ‘dissected and anatomized’ afterwards. By repute, ten thousand people attended the hanging and The Red Barn itself was visited by more than two hundred thousand people in the six months following the discovery of the body, the visitors literally picking apart the building to obtain souvenirs. Such huge public interest caused the Staffordshire potters to produce a number of Staffordshire models of The Red Barn. The figures associated with it are, however, surprisingly rare.


Check out this post on the Oddment Emporium for more looks at adorably sinister, highly covetable “Victorian Murder Ornaments,” and dream of one day being flush with enough cheddar to buy your own porcelain crime scene, and maybe one of Frances Glessner Lee’s forensically accurate, wonderfully bloody dioramas, too.

[Via Boing Boing]

Top image: Bonhams