Background of Wedgwood Black Basalt
Wedgwood and Bentley made the design and molds for this pair of Wedgwood black basalt urns in the late 18th century. This pair was made circa 1840. The exquisite neoclassical design was inspired by original antiquities from vases in the collections of 18th-century English collectors. The urns are decorated with scenes of figures in oval medallions. They are further embellished with lovely floral festoons, and bold rams head handles. Four medallions depict; Night, Day, The Dipping of Achilles, and Hope and Plenty.
Dimensions: diameter: 7.5″ x 3.75″ across the base x 14″ tall
For an image and description, see p.276 of “The D and L Beeson Wedgwood Collection at the Birmingham Museum of Art”.
Background of Wedgwood Black Basalt: In the mid-18th century, Josiah Wedgwood and his circle saw the classical images uncovered in excavating the buried Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. By the middle of the 18th century, the return to classicism had taken a firm hold on the decorative arts. Josiah Wedgwood satisfied the consumer market with wares in the new neo-classical style. Classical decoration was incorporated into the decorative arts, and a fashionable family could display its style credentials through Wedgwood’s neoclassical vases, figures, plaques, and dishes. Black Basalt wares were based on Roman, Greek, and Etruscan originals and fitted perfectly with the neoclassical style that was the dominant fashion for interior design in the 1770s. Basalt wares had perhaps their greatest popularity in the first half of the 19th century.
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