Vase and cover of soft-paste porcelain painted with enamels and gilded. Mounted on a richly gilded pedestal. The ground of the body and cover are in pale salmon colour.
[Cover] Cover with a knob in the form of a cone.
This vase is one of a pair (C.210&A-1935) that have reversible covers with candle sockets. They would probably have been set out together with their pedestals on a domestic mantelpiece, possibly in front of a mirror. Small vases on pedestals were also set out on dining tables during the dessert course of grand meals, although such vases were usually unglazed. A London sale of Derby porcelain held in 1771 included 'four curious small antique vases and pedestals for a dessert', which realized £1 12s. The Derby factory was swift to exploit the popularity of vases around 1770, when the fashionable world adopted the 'antique' vase as a symbol of the new Neo-classical style of interior decoration.
The Derby factory aimed at the top end of the market and sold much of its output from factory showrooms in London's Covent Garden. These were handsomely fitted out, and sales were not confined to dealers, but were directed to private customers as well. The factory also held auctions in London and had agents elsewhere, notably Bath. One London auction of 1773 included a pair of vases similar to these. They were described as 'a pair of curious antique urns and pedestals' with goat's-head handles and gilding, and realized nearly £10 (about four times the weekly wage of Derby's modellers).