At the cutting edge of artistic endeavour, he was part of a circle which included luminaries such as Josiah Wedgwood, Robert Adam, Sir William Chambers and James Watt, all of whom who had great bearing on his work.
Following closely the sketch of Matthew Boulton’s Pattern Book, page 171, these classical cassolette-vases were probably made in the Soho workshop in the 1770’s. Boulton and Fothergill favoured white marble in his vases and clock cases at this time.
The medallion mounted square pedestal base is indebted to Boulton’s architect friend William Chambers, who in his Franco-Italian Album presents sketches for clock cases which use similar cornered ram’s heads and swags with medallions in the centre.
The design of the bronze medallions, as discussed by Nicholas Goodison in Matthew Boulton: Ormolu, was probably sourced from classical inspired cameos and intaglios that Josiah Wedgwood and his partner James Tassie were making at that time. For similar pedestal bases, Boulton has used nine subjects of medallions. A pair sold in the London market using hand coloured biscuit medallions, probably supplied by Wedgwood, proves this firm connection.
In these particular vases, the figures represented in the medallions are: first vase, Filial Piety, Achilles Victorious, Neptune and Aesculapius; second vase, Pomona, a seated Heroic Figure, Venus Victorious and Hygieia.
The present lot was most likely the pair of vases sold in these rooms, 2nd July 1965, lot 145 (£1,350). A pair of vases of the same model is illustrated in Goodison (op. cit. pages109, 315, ill.76, 302) only varying from the present lot in one medallion, which represents a Sacrifice Group instead of Filial Piety.
The mentioned pair with coloured biscuit medallions sold at Christie’s London, ‘The Barratt Collection - from Crowe Hall, Bath’, 16 December 2010, lot 6, for £115,250.
This model was more frequently made as candelabra, with foliated scrolling arms – a pair at Weston Park, Stafforshire; another pair of candelabra formerly with Major A.W. Foster, M.C., Apley Park, Bridnorth, Shropshire and sold Christie's, London, 14 May 2003, lot 103 (£201,250); one other pair of candelabra sold anonymously at Christie's London, 18 June 2008, lot 1 (£133,250).
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