Vase of soft-paste porcelain, painted with enamels and gilded, and with two scrolled loop handles, a short expanding fluted neck, and truncated oviform body with an urn-shaped foot resting on a square plinth, made by Derby Porcelain factory, Derby, 1774-1775.
Height: 22.9 cm, Diameter: 9.8 cm
British Galleries, room 118d
One of a pair with 414:436/A-1885 (Sch. I 368/A).
Vases were a very important element of the Neo-classical style. The pottery manufacturer Josiah Wedgwood, who could hardly make them fast enough, spoke of 'vasemania'. They appeared as three-dimensional objects and as decorative motifs. Vase forms also influenced the shape of practical items of all sorts, from tea canisters to candlesticks. Designers plundered sources far and wide for new designs, from Greek pottery to 16th- and 17th-century prints. [27/03/2003]
Vase of soft-paste porcelain, painted with enamels and gilded, and with a short expanding fluted neck, truncated oviform body with an urn-shaped foot resting on a square plinth, two scrolled loop handles rising above the rim, and the upper part of the foot is gadrooned, and the body is decorated with moulded vertical bands, alternately white and turquoise-blue with gilt lines, and enclosed by blue bands, which are concave, are garlands of laurel hanging from the shoulder.
This vase is one of a pair (414:436/A-1885). They were probably purely ornamental, and intended to be displayed on a mantelpiece or wall-bracket in a domestic interior. 'Antique' vases like this were also displayed in glazed china cabinets and set out on ladies' dressing tables. A Derby auction catalogue of 1773 states that 'Antique ... Urns, Vases, Jars, &c' were 'particularly adapted for the Decoration of Chimney Pieces, Cabinets, Toilets. &c.'
Vases of this kind are probably similar to the 'Octagon inverted vases' listed in a trade catalogue issued by the Derby porcelain factory. This was probably published in about 1774, when the Derby management opened showrooms in Covent Garden, London.
William Duesbury (1725-1786), the manager and part-owner of the Derby factory, seems to have reorganized design and production at the factory around 1770. In that year he aquired the prestigious Chelsea porcelain factory, and took on new modellers. Spurred on by the example of the Staffordshire potter Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795), he began manufacturing ornamental wares and figures in the new 'antique' or Neo-classical style, entering into competition with Wedgwood in the production of 'antique' vases such as these.