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Pendelfin Rabbits

Published: June 25, 2021
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Pendelfin is a company specializing in handcrafted and handpainted stoneware bunnies and figures based in Burnley, Lancashire, England. It had a very large fan-club (the PenDelfin Family Circle, closed in March 2013) which covered Europe, USA, Canada and Australia. Pendelfin was started in the Pendle Hill area of Burnley. This area of England is where Jean Walmsley Heap (1921-2008) and Jeanie Todd (??-1974) first met at an exhibition of the Burnley Artist's Society. They were the founders of PenDelfin, the renowned rabbit family, born in the shadow of the legendary "Witches Hill" Pendle whose folk lore first inspired them. Jean and Jeanie became very close friends and in 1953 their combined talents resulted in the creation of the very first Pendelfin, a deep relief wall plaque. Their first rabbits were created as a hobby in Jeannie's garden hut, to produce gifts for their friends and family. Their enthusiasm had been fire and soon their hobby had grown into a full time vocation.

Rabbits & figurines

They each contributed a share in the "capital" (about five pounds) and would never then have believed that they had produced a line of Pendelfin collectible figurines that would be sought after worldwide. What once started as a hobby for making presents for family and friends, quickly gained worldwide fame. PenDelfin got the name from a famous hill near Burnley called Pendle Hill, which is famous for tales of witches and ghouls. As a result the first model produced by the company was named the 'Pendle Witch' and is created in a small wooden hut in the back garden of Jeannie Todd's house.

Their models are made in durable stone-based compound, an excellent medium for reproducing their superbly detailed modelling. They are hand painted in the finest quality artist's colours, changeless and fadeless in all normal temperatures.

Pendelfin bunnies

Each rabbit figure is produced entirely by hand and is the work of skilled craftsmen. The painting by special trained artists is only one of the many processes needed to produce the perfect model.

It is a gradual process of shading, tinting, and highlighting, colour painting and decorating, before a final coat of varnish can be added and they can be boxed in their familiar turquoise and black boxes and distributed all over the world.

All the bunnies (designed by Heap and Roberts) were developed with specially thought out history and characters in mind, including a mother, father, youngsters, aunts, uncles and many others, especially those who were particularly musically oriented. The figurines also inspired bookends, as well as a whole village as a backdrop for displaying them. A particularly popular character created by Heap was called 'Little Thrifty', who first emerged in the Children's Corner of the Burnley Building Society and became a center of many stories meant to inspire children to save their money.

List

Below is the first ten years of Pendelfin production, from 1953 to 1963. Most are worth a considerable amount of money, hence these are probably the most collectable of Pendelfin items today.

TypeNameSizeIntroduced
Wall plaqueThe Pendle Witch20.4cm1953 - 1957
FigureTipsy Witch11cm1953 - 1959
OrnamentalCauldron Witch11cm1953 - 1959
Wall plaquePixie House20.4cm1953 - 1958
Wall plaqueOld Meg Plaque20cm1953 - 1954
Wall PlaqueThe fairy Shop (3D Picture)40x20cm1954 - 1958
LampRheingold LampUnknown1954 - 1958
OrnamentalFairy Jardinière13cm1954 - 1958
OrnamentalDragon Ring Candle Holders10cm dia1954 - 1958
Rabbit FamilyFather Rabbit - Dungaree20cm1955 - 1960
FigureOld Adam12.5cm1955 - 1956
FigureDesmond Duck11cm1955 - 1958
FigureDaisy Duck11cm1955 - 1958
FigureBobbin Woman - only 2 made11.5cm1955 - 1958
Miniature AHerald wall figure7.5cm1955 - 1956
Miniature AScrooge wall figure7.5cm1955 - 1956
Miniature AWitch wall figure7.5cm1955 - 1956
Miniature APhynnodderee wall figure7.5cm1955 - 1956
Miniature AFlying Witch wall figure7.5cm1955 - 1956
Miniature AThe Bellman wall figure7.5cm1955 - 1956
Miniature AElf wall figure7.5cm1955 - 1956
Miniature AToper wall figure7.5cm1955 - 1956
Miniature ABalloon Woman wall figure7.5cm1955 - 1956
Miniature AStanding Witch wall figure7.5cm1955 - 1956
Wall plaqueShaggy Dog12.5cm1955 - 1958
Rabbit FamilyMother Rabbit - 4 versions20cm1956 - 1978
Wall plaqueManx Kitten9cm1956 - 1958
Miniature BTom the Pipers Son11.5cm1956 - 1959
Miniature BMiss Muffet11.5cm1956 - 1959
Miniature BLittle Bo Peep11.5cm1956 - 1959
Miniature BMary Mary Quite Contrary11.5cm1956 - 1959
Miniature BWee Willie Winkie11.5cm1956 - 1959
Miniature BLittle Jack Horner11.5cm1956 - 1959
Rabbit FamilyRobert11.5cm1956 - 1967
Rabbit FamilyMidge (1,2 or 3 crumbs)7.5cm1956 - 1965
Rabbit FamilyMargot9cm1956 - 1967
FigureTammy Puppy7.5cm1957 - 1987
Wall FigureRomeo and Juliet20cm1957 - 1959
OrnamentalRabbit book-ends11.5cm1958 - 1965
Rabbit FamilySnuggles9cm1958 -  
Rabbit FamilyWakey9cm1958 - 2003
Rabbit FamilyCha Cha7.5cm1959 - 1961
Rabbit FamilyUncle Soames20cm1959 - 1985
Rabbit FamilyRocky12.5cm1959 - 1978
Rabbit FamilyFather Rabbit - Kipper tie20cm1960 - 1970
AccessoriesModel stand - Rabbit24cm1960 - 1967
AccessoriesModel stand - Pendelfin24cm1960 - 1967
Rabbit FamilyLucy Pocket10cm1960 - 1967
Rabbit FamilyGussie7.5cm1960 - 1968
Rabbit FamilyShiner10cm1960 - 1967
Rabbit FamilyMegan the Harp10cm1960 - 1967
Rabbit FamilySqueezy8cm1960 - 1967
FigureDog with Scarf + Beret11cm1960 - 1962
AccessoriesGrandstand35cm1961 - 1969
Mouse FamilyMother Mouse (grey/brown)11cm1961 - 1966
Mouse FamilyFather Mouse (grey/brown)11cm1961 - 1966
Mouse FamilyLollipop Mouse (grey/brown)11cm1961 - 1966
FigureCornish Prayer10cm1962 - 1965
Rabbit FamilyTwins10cm1962 - 2003
FigurePooch9cm1962 - 1987
Rabbit FamilyAunt Agatha20cm1963 - 1965
FigureCyril the Squirrel17.5 cm1963 - 1965

Links

For valuation I recommend buying one of the collectors guides on Pendelfin figurines on Amazon: Pendelfin books & guides.

Pendelfin Rabbits value and price guide

What's your Pendelfin rabbits worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items with prices.

Item Title Date Price
Pendelfin Pendelfin Rabbit Rare Limited Pendelfin Rabbit Rare Limited Edition 08/2021 $ 278.84
Pendelfin Pendelfin UKCanada… Pendelfin UKCanada… 08/2021 $ 209.00
Pendelfin PENDELFIN RABBIT STONEWARE PENDELFIN RABBIT STONEWARE BETSY BARGE 07/2021 $ 63.71
Pendelfin Pendelfin Pooch Puppy Dog Pendelfin Pooch Puppy Dog Black Orange 07/2021 $ 252.28
Pendelfin Pendelfin Cake Stand Burnley Pendelfin Cake Stand Burnley England 06/2021 $ 239.01
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices10/2021-.--

Rabbits & Figurines forum

"Ask questions or share your stories." - John, Fabcollectibles


Thanks, comment waiting for approval!
Jim - June 23, 2020
I inherited a large collection of Pendelfin figurines and related items from my Mom...we had the pleasure of visiting with a Pendelfin distributor in Estes Park CO last year...learned a lot of history of Pendelfin and had a very enjoyable visit as well!!...
Martin - July 1, 2020
I am writing to inquire haw the best way to sell my Moms collection of about 200 pendefin rabbits that she has collected over 36 Years.
Show reply
JohnMartin - July 1, 2020
Usually through eBay but you could also try to find Facebook groups where collectors gather and sell and buy their collectibles.
Elisabeth - March 12, 2021
Hi, I have a Pendelfin "Twins" with blue blanket and pillow. on the headboard of the bed it is Marked “Made in England” J.VK at the end of the bed (or Jvh, similar) This is the first piece I have seen with had initials on it. Whose initials are they?
Show reply
JohnElisabeth - March 12, 2021
Could it be 'JWH' from Jean Walmsley Heap? She was the founder of Pendelfin. Some older pieces have her signature but usually it's the full name, no initials. Maybe look Pendelfin Twins to see if you can find the same you have.
Paula - April 25, 2021
I have an early father (I think). My father bought it for my mother when he was courting her and they got married in 1958 so it’s definitely pre-58. The thing is it’s not a blue colour it’s a sort of dull raspberry red. Any ideas? I would really appreciate some advice on this. I do not wish to keep it But nor do I wish to let it go for nothing. Hubby and I are selling up and down sizing owing to my health. I can send a picture if you would like to see. Best wishes Paula
Show reply
JohnPaula - April 25, 2021
Hi Paula, I'm sorry, I can't help you with this at the moment. It could be your piece has been discolored through the years, that usually happens with red. Best is to search eBay to see if you can find yours.
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