I didn’t actually know what this was when I found it in Maine the other day—but of course I fall in love with things all the time whose original function is a mystery to me! I’ve since learned, though, that it is a “Shutter dog”— made to hold a shutter open (“dog” being an Old English term for fastener). This one, later 19th c. French I believe, functions like a hinge—the top half can be locked in place at a 90 degree angle, which would be the shutter pinning position, and then released to let the shutter close. I love it as a figurative object, and think she looks a bit like a mermaid with that split tail at the end—and definitely she resembles a figurehead on a ship when cocked to face front. She’s also got a small hole in her head where the iron has eroded!
6 5/8” l extended x 1” w; 2 5/8 t “sitting up”. Good antique condition, with some erosion to the top of the head, all to the good I think. She will sit on her own.