Well Spring thumbnail 1
Well Spring thumbnail 2
+2
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 122

Well Spring

Carafe
1847-1851 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This carafe, in a design known as the 'Well Spring', by the painter and writer Richard Redgrave (1804-1888), later Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, was one of the designs made for Felix Summerly's Art Manufactures. It is an example of early Victorian design especially promoted by Henry Cole (1808-1882), in which the decoration reflects the function of the object.

Historical Associations
In response to the Society of Arts' offer, made in 1845, of a prize for designs for a tea service, Henry Cole, using the pseudonym Felix Summerly, produced a design that was executed by Minton. This won a silver medal in the competition held in 1846 and the experience led Cole to believe that it would 'promote public taste' if well-known painters and sculptors could be persuaded to produce designs for similar functional objects. Accordingly, in 1847 he founded 'Summerly's Art Manufactures', which lasted for about three years, until his preoccupation with the Great Exhibition of 1851 brought it to an end. However, for some years afterwards individual firms continued to produce objects originally made for Summerly's.

Design
In 1847 Henry Cole noted that 'RR [Richard Redgrave] and Bell [John Bell] thought Artists ought not to design for Manufacturers: apart from Art Manufactures'. But later, Redgrave himself observed that fine artists were actually to blame for committing the prime error, which was 'rather to construct ornament than ornament construction'. The Well Spring was Redgrave's first design for the Summerly scheme; it was completed and handed over to Cole on 10 January 1847 and sold to J. F. Christy of Lambeth less than a month later. The manufactured article in its original form with handles was described as 'the Water Jug', and was shown in the Society of Arts Exhibition of Recent British Manufactures in 1848. In this form it was also made in porcelain and promised in Parian by Minton. By the end of 1847 in glass, it was offered as a single-handled jug, as a 'caraffe and glass, 17s 6d [87.5p]', and as the handle-less version (as here) at œ1 5s. (œ1.25). Cole's prices were erratic.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Glass, painted in enamel
Brief Description
Carafe, England (Lambeth, London), designed by Richard Redgrave, and commissioned by Summerly's Art Manufactures at A. J. F. Christy, Stangate Glass Works, 1847-1850
Dimensions
  • Maximum height: 26cm
  • Maximum width: 13cm
Dimensions checked: measured; 19/07/1999 by Terry
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'R. Redgrave ARA' and 'FS', printed (Makers's mark)
Gallery Label
  • Given by Edmund Christy to the Jermyn St Museum.
  • British Galleries: THE 'WELL SPRING' VASE AND CARAFE
    In the 1840s Henry Cole commissioned artists such as Richard Redgrave to design articles for everyday domestic use. They were made and sold under the name of Felix Summerly's Art Manufactures. This glass carafe followed Felix Summerly's principle that ornament should be appropriate to the use of the object. The vase was adapted for production in white porcelain and parian.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Given by Edmund Christy
Object history
Designed by Richard Redgrave CB, RA (born in London, 1804, died there in 1888) for Felix Summerly's Art Manufactures; made at Stangate Glassworks, Lambeth, London
Subject depicted
Summary
Object Type
This carafe, in a design known as the 'Well Spring', by the painter and writer Richard Redgrave (1804-1888), later Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, was one of the designs made for Felix Summerly's Art Manufactures. It is an example of early Victorian design especially promoted by Henry Cole (1808-1882), in which the decoration reflects the function of the object.

Historical Associations
In response to the Society of Arts' offer, made in 1845, of a prize for designs for a tea service, Henry Cole, using the pseudonym Felix Summerly, produced a design that was executed by Minton. This won a silver medal in the competition held in 1846 and the experience led Cole to believe that it would 'promote public taste' if well-known painters and sculptors could be persuaded to produce designs for similar functional objects. Accordingly, in 1847 he founded 'Summerly's Art Manufactures', which lasted for about three years, until his preoccupation with the Great Exhibition of 1851 brought it to an end. However, for some years afterwards individual firms continued to produce objects originally made for Summerly's.

Design
In 1847 Henry Cole noted that 'RR [Richard Redgrave] and Bell [John Bell] thought Artists ought not to design for Manufacturers: apart from Art Manufactures'. But later, Redgrave himself observed that fine artists were actually to blame for committing the prime error, which was 'rather to construct ornament than ornament construction'. The Well Spring was Redgrave's first design for the Summerly scheme; it was completed and handed over to Cole on 10 January 1847 and sold to J. F. Christy of Lambeth less than a month later. The manufactured article in its original form with handles was described as 'the Water Jug', and was shown in the Society of Arts Exhibition of Recent British Manufactures in 1848. In this form it was also made in porcelain and promised in Parian by Minton. By the end of 1847 in glass, it was offered as a single-handled jug, as a 'caraffe and glass, 17s 6d [87.5p]', and as the handle-less version (as here) at œ1 5s. (œ1.25). Cole's prices were erratic.
Bibliographic Reference
Bryant, Julius. Art and Design for all: The Victoria and Albert Museum . London: V&A publishing, 2011. p112. ISBN 978 1 85177 666 5
Collection
Accession Number
4503-1901

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdDecember 13, 1997
Record URL