Sunday, November 10, 2013

Object of the Day: The Birds and Ferns Potpourri Vase, 1820

The Victoria & Albert Museum

Made purely for the sake of satisfying the senses, this cylindrical vase of square form, features a tapering neck, spreading foot and gilded handles in the form of grotesque animal heads. The central section of the vase is painted with a tree on which sits an exotic bird and a parrot above an abundance of roses and other flowers in blue, yellow, brown, orange, pink and black enamels. The background, in its entirety, undulates with an abstracted painted fern pattern in mauve.

The base is pierced with three circular holes and the lid—which is surmounted by the figure of a gilt, seated greyhound--is pierced with eight circular holes. These openings allowed scent to escape from the potpourri with which this vessel was filled.

These beautiful container was made in Longport, England, c. 1820 by Davenport & Co. who specialized in bone china which was gilt and painted in brilliant enamel colors. It is marked “DAVENPORT, LONGPORT.”

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