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, this exceptional Portland Vase is perhaps the greatest piece of ceramics to come on the market in recent decades.Wedgwood’s oven records list 43 First Edition copies of the Portland Vase produced between 17, 11 of which were broken during the firing process.Review and Onsite Photos by Rick Russack, Additional Photos Courtesy Skinner , Inc MARLBOROUGH, MASS. All the marquee items sold and at strong prices,” said Stuart Slavid, senior vice president at Skinner, after the firm’s July 15 sale of European furniture and decorative arts.“The Lauer Wedgwood collection was strong throughout, and the material consigned by Colonial Williamsburg all did well. There were winners in the Chappel collection of early English ceramics and numerous other things did well.” The top items included a Wedgwood vase that sold for 7,000, an almost unique Eighteenth Century flintlock candle clock that brought ,890, a Russian enamel kovsh that realized ,600 and an exceptional baby grand piano that also finished at ,600. Après avoir brièvement retracé l’histoire du vase original et évoqué quelques-unes des hypothèses tentant d’expliquer les bas-reliefs qui l’ornent, je souhaiterais montrer comment Josiah Wedgwood s’est saisi de cette œuvre à des fins scientifiques, commerciales et pédagogiques et comment sa copie, célébrée jusque dans un poème, a contribué à propager et entretenir la fascination qu’exerçait l’original. The story of the original vase will be evoked, along with a few theories that try to explain the meaning of its bas-reliefs.Then I shall discuss the different reasons why Wedgwood attempted to make copies of this vase and show why this attempt was a bold technical and commercial manoeuvre.These are without a doubt the best examples made by Wedgwood’s hand, as they are the only ones that match the complexity of the original, particularly in the superior shading of the cameo.
A recent theory is that the frieze depicts (as the vessel is turned) Peleus entering to meet Thetis in the presence of her parents and Aphrodite and that the vase was made as a wedding present for the Emperor Augustus's daugher Julia on her marriage to Marcus Claudius Marcellus, her cousin, in 25 B. Wedgwood continued to issue editions of the vase throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
This extraordinary copy of the legendary Portland Vase is one of the remarkably rare numbered First Editions crafted by Josiah Wedgwood, the greatest ceramics manufacturer of the 18th century.
A tour-de-force of ceramic art, the Portland Vase First Editions are regarded as one of the greatest ceramic accomplishments of the 18th century, and a testament to the superior skill of Josiah Wedgwood, his extraordinary ambition, and his tireless dedication to perfection.
In all, it is believed around 30 First Edition vases were completed, though an unknown number of these were somewhat damaged - one of these imperfect examples is currently held by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
The perfect examples such as ours have found their way into the most important museum collections in the world.
In 1762, Josiah met Thomas Bentley, a Liverpool merchant who had travelled widely on the Continent and possessed a sound knowledge of classical and Renaissance art.