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Queen's ware 'Brainstone' Vase - c.1930

Queen's ware 'Brainstone' Vase, photography M.Coupe
    Queen's ware 'Brainstone' Vase, photography M.Coupe

Vase on rectangular base known as Brainstone due to the surface design. The piece exhibits a mixture of Egyptian and classical styles. The vase has swans' head handles and is supported by two winged sphinxes. It rests on a rectangular base which is decorated with a Greek key freize. The original vase was made about 1772-5 in a Black Basalt body. This example is an early twentieth century revival in Queen's ware.

Vase on rectangular base known as Brainstone due to the surface design. The piece exhibits a mixture of Egyptian and classical styles. The vase has swans' head handles and is supported by two winged sphinxes. It rests on a rectangular base which is decorated with a Greek key freize. The original vase was made about 1772-5 in a Black Basalt body. This example is an early twentieth century revival in Queen's ware. One of the earliest references to Brainstone Vases occurs in a letter from Wedgwood to Bentley dated 25 December 1772 (Wedgwood manuscript number E25-18430) 'Wo. The lower part of the Brainstone Vase, or the other large Oval Vase be anything like what L.d Bateman wod have? Must it be oval or round?' Brainstone vases are also mentioned in a letter from Wedgwood to Bentley in London, postmarked, 16 April 1777 ‘We have the order for the large set of vases confirm’d to us. I am afraid you have not one 3 feet high. Ours are but indifferent; however if you have more we must make one of ours do. You’l please to let us know if you can finish the 4 I mention to you in my last. Wo.d not two of the B’stone vases, supported by two large sphynx’s serve for two of this set? If so we can perhaps find them here, but of this I will acquaint you farther in a post or two’ (Wedgwood manuscript number E25-18747). On 19 April 1777 Wedgwood fulfilled his promise writing to Bentley in London (Wedgwood manuscript number E25-18748), he says: ‘I observe what you say about the vases. & wish you to send us the 2 Eagle headed vases – 2 of the brainstone vases, supported by Sphinxes, if you have any that you wish to part with, otherwise we can make them'.

  • Type of object: Ornamental ware/vase
  • Mark: WEDGWOOD
    MADE IN
    ENGLAND
    [Impressed]
  • Year produced: c.1930
  • Body: Queen's ware, cream-coloured earthenware
  • Glaze: cream
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: moulded
  • Accession number: 5516
  • Dimensions: 343 mm (length), 361 mm (approximate height), 185 mm (width)

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Glossary

  • Queen’s ware

    Queen’s ware

    In 1765 Wedgwood provided a tea and coffee service to Her Majesty Queen Charlotte (wife of George III) in the new earthenware body he had recently perfected. She was so pleased with the set that she not only allowed Josiah to style himself ‘Potter to Her Majesty’, she also allowed him to call his new earthenware ‘Queen’s ware’ - a name by which Wedgwood’s cream coloured earthenware is still known today.