WHY WE LOVE IT: The beauty and strength of woman
A Sphinx has the head of a woman, the body of a lion, and a pair of wings. This pair of Wedgwood black basalt sphinxes, are modeled on a rectangular base with a ‘lotus’ shaped candleholder. Made circa 1840 from models which date from circa 1773 and were probably obtained by Wedgwood as casts from the London cast makers, Hoskins and Oliver. Beginning in the late 18th century Wedgwood made two models of sphinxes: the Greek and the Egyptian. This pair is of the Egyptian type which represents the sphinx reclining (the Greek form shows the sphinx seated upright in a typically feline position). The modeling of these figures is crisp. They are a fine example of Wedgwood’s neo-Egyptian style.
They would be wonderful in a library with warm neoclassical decoration where they would blend beautifully with the warm colors, and at the same time they would be a focal point, stark and exciting if you had them alone on a white mantle in a contemporary room.
The underside of each sphinx is impressed “WEDGWOOD” in upper case letters.
See “The Dictionary of Wedgwood” R Reilly and G Savage pg. 323.
Dimensions: 5″ height x 6″ deep x 2.2″ wide
Background of Wedgwood Black Basalt Sphinxes
In the late eighteen century Josiah Wedgwood created a black stoneware which he named “Black Basalt”, as it resembled Egyptian basalt stone. Influenced by Egyptian antiquities, artists first crafted this Black Basalt model of a sphinx in 1773.
This pair of sphinxes is part of our large collection of Black Basalt.