PenDelfin is a company specializing in handcrafted and handpainted stoneware figures based in Burnley, Lancashire, England. It has a very large fan-club (the PenDelfin Family Circle) which covers 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 PenDelfin rabbit models 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.
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'.
PenDelfin 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.
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 PenDelfin 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 rabbits (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.
I recommend buying one of the collectors guides on Pendelfin figures on Amazon:
What's it worth? Take a look at this Pendelfin price guide: sold listings for a value indication.