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Vase

Vase

  • Date:

    1758-1760 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Derby Porcelain factory (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    This rare and rather early model, more asymmetrical than the Derby models that replaced it, is crisp but a little stiff in form, raising the possibility that is was made from a carved wooden master-model. Such wooden models were not unknown at Meissen and in England John Coward was employed by Josiah Wedgwood to carve wooden patterns, some of which survive at Barlaston today.

  • Museum number:

    C.76-1967

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 53a, case 5

Object Type
Sets of three, five, seven or even nine vases were known as 'suites of vases' in the 18th and early 19th centuries. They were commonly set out on mantelpieces, with the largest one in the middle, much as today.

Design & Designing
The vase is markedly asymmetrical and very unusual for English porcelain. The design may have been first sketched on paper, but it is so complex that it could only have been fully worked out by modelling it in clay or wax. A full-size model would then have been made. Such models were used to make the hollow plaster moulds in which the vase was cast. The sharpness of the detailing suggests that a casting model of carved wood, rather than clay or wax, may have been used.

Materials & Making
The vase is very light and thinly potted, as it was formed by slip-casting. In this process a mixture of clay and water is poured into a hollow mould. The water then evaporates, leaving a thin layer of the clay mixture clinging to the interior surface of the mould. The mould would have been made in two or more pieces in order that it could be taken apart once the vase had been cast.

Physical description

VASE of exaggerated asymmetrical form with leaf-like mouldings on the circular foot and neck, the shoulders slanting from the horizontal, the upper shoulder ending in a leafy flourish, both sides with further mouldings of organic appearance. One of the bellied sides painted with a fishing scene with three figures in a landscape all in crimson, the other with polychrome flowers. Some of the leaf and organic mouldings picked out in turquoise or in crimson.

Date

1758-1760 (made)

Artist/maker

Derby Porcelain factory (maker)

Materials and Techniques

This rare and rather early model, more asymmetrical than the Derby models that replaced it, is crisp but a little stiff in form, raising the possibility that is was made from a carved wooden master-model. Such wooden models were not unknown at Meissen and in England John Coward was employed by Josiah Wedgwood to carve wooden patterns, some of which survive at Barlaston today.

Dimensions

Height: 20.1 cm

Object history note

Made at the Derby porcelain factory

Descriptive line

Vase, porcelain, painted in enamel colours. English (Derby), about 1755-6.

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

V&A Ceramics and Glass Collection Object information File
Harry Barnard, Chats on Wedgwood Ware, London, 1924, pl. 219
J.V.G. Mallet, "Rococo English Porcelain, a Study in Style", Apollo, August 1969, p.107
Dennis G. Rice, Derby Porcelain, the Golden Years, 1750-1770, Newton Abbot, 1983, pp. 56, 67.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Asymmetrical designs like this occur in Rococo ornament prints, but they are rare in ceramics of this date. The leaves on this vase are unusually crisp, suggesting that it was made using a carved wooden casting model. Woodcarvers were among the first to take up the Rococo idea of asymmetry. [27/03/2003]

Materials

Soft paste porcelain

Categories

Ceramics; Vases

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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