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  • Place of origin:

    Merseyside (made)

  • Date:

    1894-1906 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Della Robbia Pottery (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Earthenware, with sgraffito and painted decoration

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs D. Chambers

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122, case 13

Object Type
Although functional as a holder for flowers, this vase was probably intended for show. This classical shape, with raised handles in the form of coiled snakes, is modelled on 16th-century Italian examples. Design in the Renaissance Revival style was increasingly popular during the mid-19th century, partly through the influence of design schools such as the one at South Kensington. A comparatively small pottery, using inexpensive earthenware, the Della Robbia Pottery was nevertheless ambitious and the wares reflected the owner's interests and his friendships with some of the key people in the Arts and Crafts world, such as William Morris (1834-1896), A. H. Mackmurdo (1851-1942), William Holman Hunt (1827-1910) and Ford Madox Brown (1821-1893).

Harold Steward Rathbone (1858-1929) was a painter, designer and poet. He founded the Della Robbia Pottery at Birkenhead in 1894, with the sculptor Conrad Dressler (1856-1940). Family connections with the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool brought Rathbone into contact with leading painters of the day. The Unitarian Rathbone household was described as 'a hotbed of social and political reform'. Rathbone travelled extensively in Europe and studied at the Slade School of Art and in Paris. He was an avid collector of paintings, pottery and manuscripts and in the 1870s was studying Renaissance sculpture in the South Kensington Museum. All of these interest formed the background to production at the Della Robbia Pottery.

Place of Origin

Merseyside (made)


1894-1906 (made)


Della Robbia Pottery (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Earthenware, with sgraffito and painted decoration

Marks and inscriptions

Mark: DHR above a ship; lettering around the middle: 'Because of Birds Forbear Not Sowing'


Height: 29.8 cm, Diameter: 21.6 cm

Object history note

Made at the Della Robbia Pottery, Birkenhead, Merseyside

Descriptive line

Vase, made at the Della Robbia Factory, Birkenhead, late19th century

Labels and date

British Galleries:

The Della Robbia pottery of Birkenhead, Merseyside, took its name from a famous family of sculptors working in Florence in the 15th century. Some of the work it produced was closely based on Renaissance pottery. There is a direct comparison between the shape and decoration of this vase and the 16th-century vase from Deruta, Italy to the left. [27/03/2003]
Made by Della Robbia Pottery, Birkenhead, Cheshire, England, 1894-1906
Earthenware with incised decoration

Circ.201-1961 Given by Mrs D. Chambers [23/05/2008]


Ceramics; Vases


Ceramics Collection

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