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vase and cover

  • Place of origin:

    Etruria (made)

  • Date:

    1770-75 (made)
    1770-75 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wedgwood and Bentley (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    creamware

  • Credit Line:

    Private Collection

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:CERANON.4:1-2012

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118; The Wolfson Gallery, case 3 []

CREAMWARE VASE with Egyptian heads, made at Josiah Wedgwood’s factory, Etruria, Staffordshire
About 1770-1775
Creamware with applied medallion, ‘porphyry’ glaze, and traces of original gilding

By 1770 the ‘antique’ vase had become a symbol of the new Neo-classical style. Wedgwood capitalised on the craze by introducing many designs and techniques to satisfy this demanding market. The speckled glaze here imitates porphyry. The vase is an early example of the fashion for Egyptian ornament.

Physical description

Vase and cover of cream-coloured earthenware, the body decorated with a speckled glaze imitating porphyry, the applied ornament left plain with traces of original gilding. The handles modelled as Egyptian heads, one side of the body with a moulded plaque of Hercules slaying the Nemaean lion, both sides with a swag of husks, the pedestal foot with an acanthus leaf border, all set on a square black basalt plinth. The cover finial modelled as a seated sibyl or widow, a border of overlapping laurel leaves and berries around the rim.

Place of Origin

Etruria (made)

Date

1770-75 (made)
1770-75 (made)

Artist/maker

Wedgwood and Bentley (made)

Materials and Techniques

creamware

Dimensions

Height: 38.5 cm

Object history note

Egypt was not included in the Grand Tour in the eighteenth century, and with the exception of a few very adventurous travellers, those who wished to study Egyptian antiquities did so in Rome. According to Reilly 'The principal sources used by Wedgwood and Bentley were the work of Bernard de Montfaucon and the Count de Caylus, neither of whom had visited Egypt but whose illustrations were genuine attempts to reproduce their subject in authentic detail. The number of different shapes copied from illustrations of Egyptian originals produced during the lifetime of the first Josiah is surprisingly large in comparison with the work of any other pottery or porcelain manufacturer off his time.' There were also architectural examples of the use of Egyptian ornament in England: an undated design for a gateway with sphinxes at Sherborne Castle of about 1770 (not executed) and Robert Adam's entrance screen for Syon House which included sphinxes in the design, built in 1773.

Descriptive line

Vase and cover of earthenware with a blue-grey speckled 'porphyry’ glaze and Egyptian-style handles, made by Wedgwood, Etruria, Staffordshire, ca. 1770-75

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Reilly, Robin. Wedgwood, Stockton Press, New York, 1989, Vol 1, no. 711, p. 493 for a pen tray in black basalt with two divisions and a sphinx head handle, with inscribed mark 'Wedgwood & Bentley', ca. 1770-75. See also Vol. II, pp.91-93 for a discussion of the use of Egyptian ornament in the late 18th century by Wedgwood and his sources.
Tom Walford and Hilary Young eds., British Ceramic Design 1600-2002, English Ceramic Circle colloquium at the Victoria and Albert Museum, September, 2002. Clifford, Timothy. Some English Ceramic Vases and their Sources, Part 2. pp 73-105. See p. 83 for a rosso antico vase with black basalt sphinx head handles and reliefs, ca. 1785, in the Russell-Coates Art Gallery, Bournemouth.

Labels and date

CREAMWARE VASE with Egyptian heads

About 1770-1775

By 1770 the ‘antique’ vase had become a symbol of the new Neo-classical style. Wedgwood capitalised on the craze by introducing many designs and techniques to satisfy this demanding market. The speckled glaze here imitates porphyry. The vase is an early example of the fashion for Egyptian ornament.

Creamware with applied medallion, ‘porphyry’ glaze, and traces of original gilding

Made at Josiah Wedgwood’s factory, Etruria, Staffordshire
[]

Materials

Earthenware

Techniques

Moulded; Gilded

Subjects depicted

Egyptian revival; Porphyry

Categories

Interiors; Ceramics; Archaeology; Creamware & Pearlware

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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