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Factory model of a Canopic jar and cover - c.1805

Factory model of canopic vase (obverse), © Wedgwood Museum
    Factory model of canopic vase (obverse)
    © Wedgwood Museum

A factory model in Wedgwood biscuit ware for a canopic jar. Decorated with ornamented hieroglyphics and zodiac signs. The production piece would have been in Jasper and after 1860 in majolica. This reference item was produced around 1805.

A factory model in Wedgwood biscuit ware for a canopic jar. Decorated with ornamented hieroglyphics and zodiac signs. The production piece would have been in Jasper and after 1860 in majolica. This reference item was produced around 1805. The museum holds a number of such biscuit models in a wide variety of shapes and design. They were produced as standards, so that the crafts people would decorate production items correctly, and would have been used at the workbench as a reference. The cover has been moulded and is in the form of a young male head wearing the nemes - the traditional pharaonic headdress. The body of the vase has been thrown and turned. It is decorated with a succession of ornamentations in circular bands or friezes. At the rim there is a band of simple five-petaled rosettes. Beneath this is is a larger band of hieroglyphs and symbols of Egyptian mythology - these include winged sphinxes, falcon wings and crocodiles. In the centre of the jar are the signs of the zodiac. The casts of these were originally supplied by Mary Landré, and they were subsequently remodelled my William Hackwood. The Zodiac frieze is bordered at its base by another rosette frieze. The area between that and the foot is decorated with a branching papyrus and spiralling lotus - both ornaments inspired by prints in Bernard de Montfaucon's L'Antiquité Expliquée. The foot rim is in wreath form.

  • Type of object: Manufacturing paraphernalia and miscellany/model
  • Mark: (Unmarked)
  • Year produced: c.1805
  • Body: biscuit
  • Glaze: unglazed
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: moulded, ornamented
  • Accession number: 1823
  • Dimensions: 140 mm (approximate height of base), 118 mm (approximate diameter of base), 105 mm (approximate height of cover), 110 mm (diameter of cover), 242 mm (approximate overall height), 118 mm (approximate overall diameter)

Other images

Related people

  • Mary Landré Supplier of zodiac ornaments

    Mary Landré - Supplier of zodiac ornaments

    Mrs Landré supplied Wedgwood with casts in 1769 and 1774, and invoices from her are preserved in the Wedgwood archives. Little more is known about her, but her charges were moderate and it seems clear that none of the pieces obtained from Mary Landré were her original work.

  • William Hackwood Modeller of zodiac ornaments

    William Hackwood - Modeller of zodiac ornaments (1753 - 1836)

    Josiah Wedgwood first took on Hackwood at the Wedgwood Etruria factory in 1769. Wedgwood described him as an 'ingenious boy' - he was ultimately destined to become the chief modeller of the ornamental range at the Etruria factory. His forté was the production and modelling of portrait medallions - and he was particularly indispensable in the work of adapting busts, reliefs and designs that Wedgwood obtained from various sources. Many of the 18th-century portrait medallions are by his hand and include portraits of Josiah Wedgwood I, George III and Queen Charlotte. A few signed works also exist - the portraits of Garrick and Shakespeare were signed on the truncation, or just under the shoulder. Wedgwood disapproved of this practice and Hackwood was instructed not to repeat this.In 1774, Wedgwood wrote 'Hackwood is of the greatest value and consequence in finishing fine small work, and of this kind we have and shall have enough to employ him constantly'. Two years later he was further wishing that he had '....half a dozen more Hackwoods'. Hackwood continued working for Wedgwood at Etruria for 63 years and produced many bas reliefs and works that can be authenticated.

  • Bernard de Montfaucon Associated

    Bernard de Montfaucon - Associated (1655 - 1741)

    Bernard de Montfaucon was a French scholar whose most celebrated work was ‘L’Antiquité expliquée et representée en figures’ published in five volumes in 1719. Josiah I used this source work particularly for decorative motifs in the Egyptian taste.


  • Ancient Egypt

    Ancient Egypt

    Egyptian civilisation can be traced back to the unity of upper and lower Egypt in about 3000 B.C. From then until the Persian conquest, the nation’s artistic history largely concerns the remarkable temples and funeral monuments built by the pharaohs as part of their worship of the sun-god.

      Each of the three periods of monarchy – the Old, Middle and new Kingdoms – has left distinctive treasures. From the Old Kingdom (c. 2686- 2160 B.C) derive the pyramids and the Great Sphinx (guardian of the royal necropolis). By the New Kingdom era (1570 BC onwards), the pharaohs were buried in tombs, ornately decorated and endowed with gifts. The most famous tomb is that of Tutankhamun (mid 14th century BC), a royal child who ascended the throne at nine years of age by marrying Ankhenenpaaten (to be known as Ankhesenamun), daughter of King Amenophis IV. He appears to have died at 18, having managed to restore the cult of Amun-Re, spirit of the sun-god, which had been abandoned by his predecessor.

    Tutankhamun’s tomb remained undiscovered until its excavation in 1922 by Howard Carter, an English archaeologist, and his sponsor, Lord Canarvon. Its riches included a canopic chest and many alabaster vases; gilded statues of kings and animals; jewels of lapislazuli and turquoise, and as Carter exclaimed: ‘ everywhere the glint of gold’. The entire Tutankhamun collection can be seen in the Cairo Museum.

  • Signs of the Zodiac

    Signs of the Zodiac

    The word is derived from the Greek, zodion, meaning the sculptured figure of an animal, and seven of the twelve divisions of the heavens are represented by animals of one kind or another. wedgwood was originally supplied with the Signs by Mrs. Mary Landre in 1774. They were modelled by Hackwood. They were used as frieze on some fine black basaltes vases of the Wedgwood & Bentley period, and were then reduced in size for use as cameo borders, and for jasper pieces generally. In recent times they have been repriduced as seperate figures for setting in cuff links and brooches. A rare, but not inappropriate, 18th century use for a cricular cameo decorated with the signs of the Zodiac was to mount it in brass as a clock pendulum. Other examples of the use of this motif in clude Arnold Machin's Taurus the Bull of 1945 which is decorated with Zodiac symbols designed by Eric Ravilious.