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Wedgwood Jasper Button. White on Blue Jasper Cameo depicting 'Priam begging Achilles for the body of Hector'. C.1795 - 1795

Wedgwood Jasper Button. White on Blue Jasper Cameo depicting 'Priam begging Achilles for the body of Hector'. C.1795, Photography M.Coupe, © Wedgwood Museum
    Wedgwood Jasper Button. White on Blue Jasper Cameo depicting 'Priam begging Achilles for the body of Hector'. C.1795, Photography M.Coupe
    © Wedgwood Museum

Wedgwood Jasper Button. White on Blue Jasper Cameo depicting 'Priam begging Achilles for the body of Hector'. C.1795

Wedgwood Jasper Button. White on Blue Jasper Cameo depicting 'Priam begging Achilles for the body of Hector'. C.1795

  • Type of object: Ornamental ware/jewellery and accessories
  • Year produced: 1795
  • Body: Jasper
  • Glaze: unglazed
  • Material: ceramic, metal
  • Decoration: ornamented, sprigged
  • Accession number: 14279b
  • Dimensions: 36 mm

Related people

  • Achilles

    Achilles

    The hero of Homers Iliad. The son of Peleus, King of the Myrmidones, and the Nereid, Thetis, he was educated by Pheonix in eloquence and arts of war, and by Chiron, the centaur, in the healing arts. According to legend, Thetis sought to make him immortal by dipping him in the river Stix but failed to immerse the heel by which she held him, which remained vulnerable to human assault. Later to preserve him from the Trojan war, she sent him to live among the daughters of Lycomedes, King of Scyros. There, dressed as a woman, Achilles was discovered by Ulysses, but not before he had taken advantage of his disguise to impregnate Deidamia, daughter of Lycomedes, who bore him a son, Pyrrhus. Offered the choice between a short but heroic death and a long and inglorious one, Achilles chose the former and set out for the war, where he was, at first, in the fore front of battle. After a quarrel with Agamemnon he retired to sulk in his tent. His friend Patroclus, nevertheless persuaded him to allow his men, horses and armour to be used. When Patroclus was slain, Achilles, stricken with grief and remorse, rejoined the battle. Wearing new armour he killed numerous Trojans, including king Priams son, Hector, whose body he tied to his chariot and dragged round the walls of the city before yielding it to Priam, who came in person to beg for it. Achilles fell in the battle before Troy was taken, slain, it was said by an arrow shot by Paris, which struck him in the heel.

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.