Vase thumbnail 1
Vase thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Ceramics, Room 139, The Curtain Foundation Gallery

Vase

1813 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This Sèvres vase is a copy of the antique " Medici Krater" or ''Medici Vase'' a first-century Greek marble decorated with bas-reliefs, in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. The original vase was widely copied, and appeared in many prints in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Medici Vase with acanthus leaf carving, is thought to show Odysseus, Agamemnon and Iphigenia. The vase was at the Villa Medici in Rome by 1598, first appearing in the inventory of the Medici collection that century. A print by Stefano Della Bella, of 1656, shows the vase in the gardens of the Villa being drawn by a boy thought to be the Medici heir who later became Grand Duke Cosimo III. (V&A E.1527A/528-1915). In the late-18th and early-19th centuries increased travel and exploration during the Napoleonic Wars and archaeological discoveries, at sites such as Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, led to a revival of interest in ancient and classical decoration. The vase continued to be referenced in prints, used as design sources, and paintings such as Thomas Noel-Hill, 2nd Baron Berwick of Attingham (1770-1832). This was painted in 1793 (sfter the vase had transferred to the Ufizzi) by Angelica Kauffmann while the Baron was on his Grand Tour of Europe (National Trust Inventory Number 608952) and shows him sat next to the original vase.

The print source for the Sèvres vase may have been taken from Plate 54 of a suite of 114 etchings entitled ‘Vasi, Candelabri, Cippi, Sarcofagi, Tripodi’, Lucerne, Ed Ornamenti Antichi Disegn Ed Inc Dal Cav. Gio. Batta. Piranesi, pubblicati l’anno MDCCLXXIIX. Italian, 1778 (V&A E.1527A/237-1885) which shows both sides and a flattened out view of the frieze. The colouring on this vase is influenced by Wedgwood's jasper-wares of classical subjects. Copies of the ''Medici Vase'' vase were often paired with the ''Borghese Vase'' and Wedgwood produced a jasperware version of the latter c.1890. This Sèvres example is marked "AB" for Alexander Brachard the younger (recorded at Sèvres 1784-1792, 1795-1799 and 1802-1827). He would have assembled the moulded parts and sharpened the detail. Dr. Anthony Todd Thompson bought the vase from Sèvres in 1815 a few weeks after peace was declared following the Battle of Waterloo. He was told that the vase had originally been intended for Napoleon to present to the Tsar of Russia but probably due to a change in political relations, France was at war with Russia by 1813, and flaws in the manufacture it was put aside.



object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
hard paste porcelain, with applied reliefs
Brief Description
Vase, hard paste biscuit porcelain, with applied reliefs. Sevres porcelain factory.
Physical Description
Vase, hard paste biscuit porcelain, with applied reliefs depicting the sacrifice of Iphigenia.
Dimensions
  • Height: 16in (imperial measurement from registers)
  • Diameter: 13in (imperial measurement from registers)
Style
Gallery Label
  • Label for 'American and European Art and Design 1800-1900', Gallery 101, de-canted March 2017: '2 Vase Copying a Greek Original 1813 This vase is a copy of a famous Greek vase known as the 'Medici Krater'. It may have been commissioned by Napoleon as a present for the Tsar of Russia. To give it a modern edge, the Sèvres designers made it in biscuit (unglazed) porcelain, in colours resembling Wedgwood's celebrated jasper ware. The moulded parts were assembled and sharpened up before firing. France, Sèvres; made at the Sèvres porcelain factory; with the mark of Alexandre Brachard the Younger Hard-paste porcelain, biscuit fired with applied reliefs Museum no. 396-1874'(08/06/2017)
  • VASE Sèvres Porcelain Facory Manufacturer Paris (Sèvres): 1813 Hard paste biscuit porcelain with applied reliefs 396-1874 This vase, purchased at the Alexander Barker sale in 1874, is a copy of the antique " Medici Krater" in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. Its colouring is influenced by Wedgwood's jasper-wares. Marked "AB" is for Alexander Brachard the younger (recorded at Sèvres 1784-1792, 1795-1799 and 1802-1827). He would have assembled the moulded parts and sharpened th detail. Dr. Anthony Todd Thornton, who bought it from Sèvres soon after Waterloo, was told that it had been intended for Napoleon to present to the Czar of Russia.(1987-2006)
Object history
Dr. Anthony Todd Thompson bought the vase from Sèvres in 1815 a few weeks after peace was declared following the Battle of Waterloo. He was told that the vase had originally been intended for Napoleon to present to the Tsar of Russia but that due to flaws in the manufacture it was put aside.

After Dr. Todd Thompson's death the vase passed though several owners until it was purchased by the South Kensington Museum at the Alexander Barker sale, Christie's, London in 1874. Barker was a collector and member of the Burlington Fine Art Club. He was the son of a fashionable London bootmaker.
Summary
This Sèvres vase is a copy of the antique " Medici Krater" or ''Medici Vase'' a first-century Greek marble decorated with bas-reliefs, in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. The original vase was widely copied, and appeared in many prints in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Medici Vase with acanthus leaf carving, is thought to show Odysseus, Agamemnon and Iphigenia. The vase was at the Villa Medici in Rome by 1598, first appearing in the inventory of the Medici collection that century. A print by Stefano Della Bella, of 1656, shows the vase in the gardens of the Villa being drawn by a boy thought to be the Medici heir who later became Grand Duke Cosimo III. (V&A E.1527A/528-1915). In the late-18th and early-19th centuries increased travel and exploration during the Napoleonic Wars and archaeological discoveries, at sites such as Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, led to a revival of interest in ancient and classical decoration. The vase continued to be referenced in prints, used as design sources, and paintings such as Thomas Noel-Hill, 2nd Baron Berwick of Attingham (1770-1832). This was painted in 1793 (sfter the vase had transferred to the Ufizzi) by Angelica Kauffmann while the Baron was on his Grand Tour of Europe (National Trust Inventory Number 608952) and shows him sat next to the original vase.



The print source for the Sèvres vase may have been taken from Plate 54 of a suite of 114 etchings entitled ‘Vasi, Candelabri, Cippi, Sarcofagi, Tripodi’, Lucerne, Ed Ornamenti Antichi Disegn Ed Inc Dal Cav. Gio. Batta. Piranesi, pubblicati l’anno MDCCLXXIIX. Italian, 1778 (V&A E.1527A/237-1885) which shows both sides and a flattened out view of the frieze. The colouring on this vase is influenced by Wedgwood's jasper-wares of classical subjects. Copies of the ''Medici Vase'' vase were often paired with the ''Borghese Vase'' and Wedgwood produced a jasperware version of the latter c.1890. This Sèvres example is marked "AB" for Alexander Brachard the younger (recorded at Sèvres 1784-1792, 1795-1799 and 1802-1827). He would have assembled the moulded parts and sharpened the detail. Dr. Anthony Todd Thompson bought the vase from Sèvres in 1815 a few weeks after peace was declared following the Battle of Waterloo. He was told that the vase had originally been intended for Napoleon to present to the Tsar of Russia but probably due to a change in political relations, France was at war with Russia by 1813, and flaws in the manufacture it was put aside.



Bibliographic References
  • Comparable pair of Borghese / Medici Vases. Sale - Arcole, Drouot Richelieu, Paris. 27/6/1989, lot 85.
  • Exhibited - The Age of Neo-Classicism, V&A, 9 September - 19 November 1972. Cat No. 1416.
  • Art and Design in Europe and America 1800-1900, V&A Publications, 1987. pp.32-33.
Collection
Accession Number
396-1874

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record createdSeptember 8, 1998
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