Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sculpture of the Day: “The Golden Age,” by W.T. Copeland and Sons, 1851

The Golden Age
W.T. Copeland & Sons, 1851
The Royal Collection
As is often the case with competing artists, there was always a bit of rivalry between the porcelain-makers of Copeland and Sons and Minton. In the mid-Nineteenth Century, the rise in popularity of unglazed biscuit figures known as “Parian” prompted both companies to claim that they had created the process. Minton is credited for naming the product “Parian” after the Italian marble due to the material’s resemblance to marble. However, Copeland and Sons insisted that they had perfected the technique.

Regardless of its origin, Parian pieces were proudly shown at The Great Exhibition. Queen Victoria was fascinated by the ceramics and even watched several pieces being made. She wrote in her diary about watching the process, “which is very interesting and pretty to see.”

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert collected many pieces of Parian in 1851. This multi-figure group created by Copeland and Sons was inspired by a passage in Ovid’s 
Metamorphoses and depicts a scene of innocence and terrestrial paradise in which men lived in harmony with animals.

These delicate pieces graced many mantels and tables in the Royal Residences. This one, however, was one of the Queen’s favorites as she was said to have very much enjoyed the idea of living in harmony with nature.

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Images Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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