Object of the Month - June 2017
Vase and Cover
England, Royal Crown Derby,
Sir D.J. Tata Collection
The tall vase is of two-handled “water drop” form, with bulbous lower part and long, slender neck. It has a circular foot and stands on a separate stepped plinth, modelled with multiple scrolls, beading, and other motifs. The body is decorated in relief with gilded foliage on a red ground, the rising scroll handles have triangular pierced panels of foliage at their bases, and the neck is modelled with openwork scrolls below the domed ogee cover.
The Royal Crown Derby porcelain factory was founded in 1876 as the Derby Crown Porcelain Company and changed its name following a visit by Queen Victoria in 1890. Like Worcester, Derby had been an important centre of the English china industry since the middle of the 18th century and Royal Crown Derby traced its origins to the factory established in about 1756 by William Duesbury.
The late 19th century company was particularly known for its display wares. This particular vase, apparently a previously unrecorded shape, is a technical tour de force and typical of the eclecticism of its age. It is extremely thinly constructed and its plinth is entirely separate. The design is a combination of influences from many different sources. The form of the vase and its high, openwork scroll handles combine elements of gothic revival and Islamic metalwork, while the red body with gilt flowers in more than one colour of gilding is inspired by Japanese lacquer, then extremely sought after in Europe.