The Discovery of Achilles thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 118; The Wolfson Gallery

The Discovery of Achilles

Plaque
ca. 1788 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Object Type
The relief was probably intended for incorporation into a chimney-piece. According to Josiah Wedgwood, who manufactured it, such reliefs were used 'in the composition of a great variety of chimneypieces'.

Ownership & Use
Wedgwood claimed that his panels of this type could 'be seen in the houses of many of the first nobility and gentry in the kingdom.' He had high hopes that his Jasper reliefs would be taken up by Robert Adam and other leading architects of the day. However, he complained to his partner that he had failed to 'prevail upon the architects to be godfathers to our child ...'

Design & Designing
Around 1788 Wedgwood set up a modelling studio in Rome to supply him with casts and copies of antique reliefs for copying in Jasper. This was superintended by Henry Webber, previously the head of the ornamental department at Wedgwood's factory. Webber produced little in Italy, but employed a number of Italian artists to model reliefs in wax. Among them was Camillo Pacetti (1758-1826), who was described as 'a proud imperious fellow'. Pacetti modelled this piece, copying it from a relief carved in marble on a Roman sarcophagus of the 3rd century AD.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Jasper with green dip and applied reliefs
Brief description
Chimney tablet with a relief depicting Menelaus and Diomed discovering Achilles among the daughters of Lycomedes; probably modelled by Camillo Pacetti, made at Josiah Wedgwood's factory, Etruria, Staffordshire, ca. 1788
Physical description
Chimney tablet with a relief depicting Menelaus and Diomed discovering Achilles among the daughters of Lycomedes
Dimensions
  • Height: 15.87cm
  • Width: 38.42cm
Gallery label
  • British Galleries: Wedgwood pioneered the use of pottery for architectural decoration. In 1788-1789 he commissioned a series of strictly Neo-classical models for chimney-piece tablets from Italian artists working in Rome. These were based on famous antiquities which Wedgwood selected from a catalogue of the Capitoline Museum in Rome.(27/03/2003)
  • Plaque depicting Menelaus and Diomed discovering Achilles among the daughters of Lycomedes Modelled by Camillo Pacetti under the supervision of Flaxman, made at the factory of Josiah Wedgwood, Etruria, Staffordshire, 1770-1800 Mark: 'WEDGWOOD' impressed Jasperware with applied relief decoration, in a gilt metal frame 4938-1901 Jermyn Street Collection The subject is taken from a relief on a 3rd-century sarcophagus in the Capitoline Museum. The subject was formerly supposed to be the Sacrifice of Iphigenia.(23/05/2008)
Credit line
Transferred from the Museum of Practical Geology, Jermyn Street
Object history
Made at Josiah Wedgwood's factory, Etruria, Staffordshire; probably modelled by Camillo Pacetti (probably born in Rome, 1758, died in Milan, Italy 1826).



Jermyn Street Collection.
Summary
Object Type
The relief was probably intended for incorporation into a chimney-piece. According to Josiah Wedgwood, who manufactured it, such reliefs were used 'in the composition of a great variety of chimneypieces'.

Ownership & Use
Wedgwood claimed that his panels of this type could 'be seen in the houses of many of the first nobility and gentry in the kingdom.' He had high hopes that his Jasper reliefs would be taken up by Robert Adam and other leading architects of the day. However, he complained to his partner that he had failed to 'prevail upon the architects to be godfathers to our child ...'

Design & Designing
Around 1788 Wedgwood set up a modelling studio in Rome to supply him with casts and copies of antique reliefs for copying in Jasper. This was superintended by Henry Webber, previously the head of the ornamental department at Wedgwood's factory. Webber produced little in Italy, but employed a number of Italian artists to model reliefs in wax. Among them was Camillo Pacetti (1758-1826), who was described as 'a proud imperious fellow'. Pacetti modelled this piece, copying it from a relief carved in marble on a Roman sarcophagus of the 3rd century AD.
Collection
Accession number
4938-1901

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Record createdMarch 27, 2003
Record URL
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