Not currently on display at the V&A

Urn

ca. 1902 (made), 1895-1900 (designed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This copper urn is Frank Lloyd Wright's finest design in metal and a supreme example of American Arts and Crafts metalwork design. This particular example is the only one known to retain most of its original surface. Although only 48.5 cm high, it is a monumental object whose function within the interior was an architectural and sculptural one, in the fullest sense of the terms. Wright used similar urns in a number of commissions between 1895 and 1904, each a slight variant on the other. In the Dana House this urn was one of a pair placed on a low interior wall separating the entrance and the spectacular double height living room (Wright's first use of the latter).

The stylised geometric decoration shows Wright's indebtedness to the Gothic Revival and the design reform movements in Britain, and the work of the French architect Viollet-le-Duc. Wright often employed similar motifs within the fabric of his buildings and the copper colour related closely to the brick and other earth tones of the materials and decoration.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Patinated copper, cut in sections, raised and soldered
Brief Description
Copper, USA, Chicago, ca.1902, made by James A. Miller, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Physical Description
Large, globular bowl of sheet copper, patinated to a deep rich red, resting on a flared, cruciform foot and rising to an everted rim with a rolled edge. The body is constructed in sections, soldered together on the inside. On all four sides is a raised, semi circular boss with a crenellated edge, surrounded and divided by rectangular sections with pointed ends, defined by raised ridges, each section containing an oval or rectangular lozenge and separated at each end by a diamond shaped frame. The foot flares towards the base and rests on a flat plate.
Dimensions
  • Height: 48.5cm
  • Maximum diameter: 48.5cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
No marks
Credit line
Purchased with Art Fund support
Object history
This urn, one of several commissioned by Frank Lloyd Wright, was made for the Dana Thomas House, Springfield Illinois which he designed in 1902. Purchased with assistance from The Art Fund.
Summary
This copper urn is Frank Lloyd Wright's finest design in metal and a supreme example of American Arts and Crafts metalwork design. This particular example is the only one known to retain most of its original surface. Although only 48.5 cm high, it is a monumental object whose function within the interior was an architectural and sculptural one, in the fullest sense of the terms. Wright used similar urns in a number of commissions between 1895 and 1904, each a slight variant on the other. In the Dana House this urn was one of a pair placed on a low interior wall separating the entrance and the spectacular double height living room (Wright's first use of the latter).



The stylised geometric decoration shows Wright's indebtedness to the Gothic Revival and the design reform movements in Britain, and the work of the French architect Viollet-le-Duc. Wright often employed similar motifs within the fabric of his buildings and the copper colour related closely to the brick and other earth tones of the materials and decoration.
Bibliographic Reference
The Art Fund Review (no.3806)
Collection
Accession Number
M.28-1992

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record createdNovember 6, 2007
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