Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 125c

Vase

1909 (dated)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This vase is a purely decorative object which meets fashionable taste of around 1900. William Howson Taylor, owner of the Ruskin Pottery, perfected the firing of a true flambé glaze, emulating 18th-century Chinese glazes. Its exclusivity gave it limited appeal but this vase would impress as evidence of the owner's knowledgeable and artistic taste.

Materials & Making
Based on mineral (usually iron or copper) oxides, flambé glazes (or transmutation glazes) are fired at high temperatures (up to 1500ºC) in a kiln atmosphere that is rich in carbon monoxide, owing to the shutting off of oxygen at a critical moment. (This is known as a 'reducing' atmosphere.) This results in a violent reaction within the glaze, which is transmuted into an unpredictable range of reds, purples, blues, lilacs and greens. The glaze was perfected by the Chinese in the 18th century and first copied successfully in Europe in the later 19th century. A less demanding version offering a similar appearance could be achieved by using a slip oxide fired at a low temperature. Unlike the true flambé, however, this was easily scratched.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Stoneware, with flambé glaze
Brief Description
Tall vase
Physical Description
VASE with flambé glaze
Dimensions
  • Height: 21.8cm
  • Width: 11.7cm
  • Base diameter: 7.4cm
Dimensions checked: measured; 18/12/1998 by terry bloxham
Marks and Inscriptions
Impressed on the base 'RUSKIN POTTERY 1909'
Gallery Label
  • British Galleries: When he made this speckled vase, William Howson Taylor of the Ruskin Pottery did not simply set out to reproduce a Chinese flambé glaze. He experimented with Chinese glaze technology with the aim of pushing forward the boundaries of ceramic knowledge.(27/03/2003)
  • Vase Designed by William Howson Taylor, made by Ruskin Pottery, Ruskin Pottery, Smethwick, Birmingham, West Midlands, England, 1909 Marks: 'Ruskin Pottery 1909', impressed, 'Ruskin Pottery vase with unique decoration (transmutation glazes)', paper label, handwritten Porcellaneous stoneware with a high temperature (flambe) glaze in crimson, green and black. C.68-1972 Formerly in the Handley Read Colln. Paper label possibly written by Handley Reads or the pottery(23/05/2008)
Object history
Made by William Howson Taylor (born in Lincoln,1876, died in Ashprington, Devon, 1935) at the Ruskin Pottery, Smethwick, near Birmingham.



Formerly in the Handley Read Collection.
Summary
Object Type
This vase is a purely decorative object which meets fashionable taste of around 1900. William Howson Taylor, owner of the Ruskin Pottery, perfected the firing of a true flambé glaze, emulating 18th-century Chinese glazes. Its exclusivity gave it limited appeal but this vase would impress as evidence of the owner's knowledgeable and artistic taste.

Materials & Making
Based on mineral (usually iron or copper) oxides, flambé glazes (or transmutation glazes) are fired at high temperatures (up to 1500ºC) in a kiln atmosphere that is rich in carbon monoxide, owing to the shutting off of oxygen at a critical moment. (This is known as a 'reducing' atmosphere.) This results in a violent reaction within the glaze, which is transmuted into an unpredictable range of reds, purples, blues, lilacs and greens. The glaze was perfected by the Chinese in the 18th century and first copied successfully in Europe in the later 19th century. A less demanding version offering a similar appearance could be achieved by using a slip oxide fired at a low temperature. Unlike the true flambé, however, this was easily scratched.
Collection
Accession Number
C.68-1972

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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