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Jasper vase with enamelled and gilded Japanese scene - 2002

Jasper vase with pâte-sur-pâte and gilded Japanese scene
    Jasper vase with pâte-sur-pâte and gilded Japanese scene

This vase is an illustration of the exemplary craftsmanship that has gone into prestige production at Barlaston. This Portland blue jasper vase has been painstakingly decorated with a Japanoiserie scene in enamel reminiscent of pâte-sur-pâte which is picked out in gold and further embellished with raised gold paste. The enamel scene features, on one side, two cranes, one in flight and one standing in rushes. Stalks of bamboo frame the scene, with bamboo leaves hanging along the top edge. The other side features a volcano, reminiscent of Mount Fuji, and two further standing cranes amongst rushes. Again the scene is framed with bamboo, and leaves decorate the top edge. In Japan cranes are seen as symbols of good fortune and longevity.

This vase is an illustration of the exemplary craftsmanship that has gone into prestige production at Barlaston. This Portland blue jasper vase has been painstakingly decorated with a Japanoiserie scene in enamel reminiscent of pâte-sur-pâte which is picked out in gold and further embellished with raised gold paste. The enamel scene features, on one side, two cranes, one in flight and one standing in rushes. Stalks of bamboo frame the scene, with bamboo leaves hanging along the top edge. The other side features a volcano, reminiscent of Mount Fuji, and two further standing cranes amongst rushes. Again the scene is framed with bamboo, and leaves decorate the top edge. In Japan cranes are seen as symbols of good fortune and longevity. Created in enamel, the scene has been further embellished with gilding to pick out the white pâte-sur-pâte on the Portland blue ground. The top rim has been edged in gold. Along the top edge on the interior is a stylised palmate anthemium and drop design is in raised gold paste. At the bottom of the vase the foot has been gilded and a running stylised anthemium design has been applied with acid etching. The vase has been given a clear glaze. The hand-enamelling is reminiscent of the pâte-sur-pâte style of decoration, and has been created by Wedgwood prestige craftsperson, Dale Bowen. Whilst at Wedgwood Bowen worked on the re-introduction of the pâte-sur-pâte technique. The item has been signed by both the gilder, George Downes, and Bowen. Created in 2002 the vase's shape was one that was created for its then current 'Interiors' range, and although indistinct the impressed mark includes the word 'Interiors'. This piece however was clearly a prestige and probably unique item. The Museum is in possession of companion pieces with the same vein but less complex decoration. No information exists as to any suggested retail price if indeed the item was created for sale but any such amount would have been in excess of £1,000.

  • Type of object: Ornamental ware/vase
  • Mark: (W Portland vase device)
    WEDGWOOD ®
    INTERIORS
    (Remainder of mark indistinct)
    [Impressed]
    G
    D
    [Signed in gold]
    DB
    02
    [Signed in gold on enamel]
  • Year produced: 2002
  • Body: Jasper
  • Glaze: clear glaze
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: hand-enamelled, gilded, edge-lined, raised gold paste, acid-etched
  • Accession number: 14180
  • Dimensions: 250 mm (height), 232 mm (width), 183 mm (depth)

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Related people

  • Dale Bowen Artist

    Dale Bowen - Artist

    Wedgwood prestige artist and craftsperson working for the firm during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, born in Staffordshire in 1963. Student of art at Newcastle under Lyme college. A master potter Bowen worked in the industry for over 2 decades, firstly for Coalport China and subsequently Wedgwood for the last 15 of those years. Working for Wedgwood in the Prestige Department he created a number of one-off pieces for the collectors market and commissions. Many of these pieces were highly decorated and exclusive, fetching in some cases in excess of £100,000. More recently he gained a masters degree in ceramics at Staffordshire University and exhibited privately in New York, Washington and San Francisco, including an Exclusive masterpiece collection in Japan for Wedgwood.

Glossary

  • Jasper

    Jasper

    A fine-grained stoneware body developed by Josiah Wedgwood I in the mid 1770s, and the ceramic ware most associated with the name. The most famous colour combination known today is the traditional blue and white, which is usually decorated with classical bas reliefs.

    With changes in architectural styles and the rise in popularity of neo-classical styles of interior decoration Josiah Wedgwood began a series of experiments to create a new ceramic material that would complement the new fashions. Thousands of meticulously recorded experiments were carried out to make a stoneware body that was capable of taking a mineral oxide stain throughout. The search for the jasper body absorbed much of Wedgwood's energy and time, the result being his most important contribution to ceramic history.

    The majority of the actual trials were carried out between December 1772 and December 1774, Josiah writing on the 17 March of the latter year: ‘have for some time past been reviewing my experiments, & I find such Roots, such Seeds as would open & branch out wonderfully if I could nail myself down to the cultivation of them for a year or two'.

    By January 1775 he was ‘absolute' in the production of jasper with coloured grounds. He was also in a position to advertise that he could manufacture bas reliefs, ranging from large plaques to small cameos for mounting as jewellery. The range of colours steadily increased, and by March 1776 Josiah was sending his first specimens of yellow to London. By September experiments were in hand for black jasper. Certainly by Spring of 1777 he was carrying out further experiments to perfect a surface ‘dip' to provide deeper coloured grounds for his cameos; and by the middle of December 1777, he was able to offer Bentley a choice of ‘Green - yellow - lalock [lilac] etc. to the colour of the rooms', referring to the tones favoured by their mutual acquaintance the architect Robert Adam.