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Design for a silver vase
  • Design for a silver vase
    Flaxman, John RA, born 1755 - died 1826
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Design for a silver vase

  • Place of origin:


  • Date:


  • Artist/Maker:

    Flaxman, John RA, born 1755 - died 1826 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil, pen an ink and wash on wove paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case A, shelf 107

Physical description

A drawing of a silver vase, probably a wine cooler, by John Flaxman (1756-1826).
Of calyx krater form with acanthus decoration at the bottom. On the side two men standing at the side of a standing woman facing left.
Profile, full size 24.7 x 23.7 mm cut

Place of Origin





Flaxman, John RA, born 1755 - died 1826 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil, pen an ink and wash on wove paper


Height: 274 mm, Width: 238 mm

Object history note

This is a design for one side of the Theocritus Cup, which was based on a description in the first idyll of Theocritus. The cup was first made in 1811-12 by Paul Storr (Liverpool Museums). An example in the Royal Collection is hallmarked 1812-13 by Paul Storr (RCIN 51538).
This design shows the cup in the form of a wine cooler, with a liner and is missing the twisted ivy handles of the cup as made. The extensions of the upper rim may represent handles, or the termination of larger handles not drawn.
The figure composition on this side of the cup is believed to have been inspired by a relief in Villa Albani showing Hermes, Eurydice and Orpheus.
For a sketch by Flaxman of a figure of Hermes see CAI.1008. For an early drawing of the figures see CAI.999. A drawing of the final figure group is in the Huntington Library and Art Gallery. For the scene on the other side of the cup, see a drawing in the British Museum (1900,0824.187). Also in the British Museum is a print of the whole cup made as a pattern to promote its production (1900,0824.1880). It is inscribed “Designed by John Flaxman RA, about 230 guineas”.
The register for the acquisition for this design is inscribed "from the Art Museum" in December 1864.

Descriptive line

Design for a silver vase, probably a wine cooler, by John Flaxman (1755-1826) circa 1810

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

D. Bindman Ed., John Flaxman, R.A., Royal Academy of Arts, 1979.
David G. Irwin, John Flaxman 1755-1826 : sculptor, illustrator, designer, London : Studio Vista, 1979.
Shirley Bury, “The lengthening shadow of Rundell's”, Connoisseur CLXI, no.648, p.79; no.649, p.152; no.650, p.218.
Robert R. Wark, Henry E., Drawings by John Flaxman in the Huntington Collection, 1970.

Subjects depicted



Silver; Silver Designs; English; Designs


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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