Flower Pyramid thumbnail 1
Flower Pyramid thumbnail 2
+7
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Europe 1600-1815, Room 7, The Sheikha Amna Bint Mohammed Al Thani Gallery

Flower Pyramid

ca. 1695 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

At the end of the 17th century there was a great craze for tulips in Holland. To cater for this, the ingenious potters at Delft, particularly the 'Greek A' factory, produced huge pyramids of stacking flower holders. Normally produced in pairs, they were highly decorative additions to palaces and country houses, with or without their flowers. They were particularly popular in England in the circle of courtiers around King William III of Orange.
'Pyramid' is the word commonly used during the 17th and 18th century for obelisk. As symbols of eternity and rule, they we often used in architecture and as celebratory, temporary structures in public spaces and gardens.
This vase is one of a pair, each consisting of a base, supported by four royal lions with a globe in their paws, nine tiers of square flower holders with a spout on every corner and a finial in the shape of a female bust. Each tier could be filled with water and flowers would be placed in every spout. Even the finial has holes in the top of the head intended for more flowers.
read A-Z of Ceramics As peculiar as some of the pieces themselves, the language of ceramics is vast and draws from a global dictionary. Peruse our A-Z to find out about some of the terms you might discover in our incredible galleries.
object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 11 parts.

  • Flower Pyramid
  • Flower Pyramid
  • Flower Pyramid
  • Flower Pyramid
  • Flower Pyramid
  • Flower Pyramid
  • Flower Pyramid
  • Flower Pyramid
  • Flower Pyramid
  • Flower Pyramid
  • Flower Pyramid
Materials and Techniques
Tin-glazed earthenware, painted
Brief Description
Tin-glazed earthenware flower pyramid, painted in cobalt-blue, Netherlands (Delft), ca. 1695.
Physical Description
Tin-glazed earthenware flower pyramid, painted in cobalt-blue.
Dimensions
  • Height: 160cm
  • Whole object weight: 32.5kg
Gallery Label
Flower pyramid About 1695 After the collapse of the Chinese Ming dynasty in 1644, the Dutch East India Company could no longer obtain Chinese porcelain. Delft potters began making blue-and-white pottery in imitation. Stacked flower holders like this were made to display tulips and other natural and artificial flowers in Dutch and English grand houses. Large and complex in construction, these pieces were hugely ambitious and costly to produce in earthenware. Dutch Republic, now the Netherlands (Delft) Tin-glazed earthenware, painted in blue(09.12.2015)
Object history
From North Mymms Park and possibly made for the 1st Duke of Portland at the "Greek A" factory of Adrianus Koeks at Delft.
Production
Attribution note: One of a pair
Subjects depicted
Summary
At the end of the 17th century there was a great craze for tulips in Holland. To cater for this, the ingenious potters at Delft, particularly the 'Greek A' factory, produced huge pyramids of stacking flower holders. Normally produced in pairs, they were highly decorative additions to palaces and country houses, with or without their flowers. They were particularly popular in England in the circle of courtiers around King William III of Orange.

'Pyramid' is the word commonly used during the 17th and 18th century for obelisk. As symbols of eternity and rule, they we often used in architecture and as celebratory, temporary structures in public spaces and gardens.

This vase is one of a pair, each consisting of a base, supported by four royal lions with a globe in their paws, nine tiers of square flower holders with a spout on every corner and a finial in the shape of a female bust. Each tier could be filled with water and flowers would be placed in every spout. Even the finial has holes in the top of the head intended for more flowers.

Associated Object
Bibliographic Reference
Hildyard, Robin. European Ceramics. London : V&A Publications, 1999. 144 p., ill. ISBN 185177260X
Collection
Accession Number
C.19 to J-1982

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record createdNovember 25, 2002
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