PROPERTY OF PRINCETON UNIVERSITY THROUGH ITS DEPARTMENT OF GEOSCIENCES
Sold, Christie's, New York, October 28, 1985, lot 28
Sold, in these rooms, New York, April 7, 2004, lot 159
This impressive vase is closely related to another vase of similar form, now in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire (Ford, op.cit., p. 86), which was made in 1815 by James Shore of Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. Little is known of Shore other than his claim that his vase, which measured 24 inches high including the plinth, was the largest ever made. After his death it passed to John Mawe, another worker in blue john, who had shops in Matlock, Castleton, Cheltenham, Scarborough and London, and then to William Adam at whose sale in 1849 it was presumably acquired by the Duke of Devonshire. Shore's vase now has slate handles, although a contemporary illustration of it indicates that these were originally in blue john (Ford op.cit. p. 90). The construction of the two vases is the same being formed by a series of rings fitted one above the other, the stone of the two vases also being identical and from the Bull Beef Vein. This particular vein was mined in the Blue John Cavern which was located in the Treak Cliff hills, Derbyshire, and 'was probably the most popular amongst 19th century craftsmen and clients but there is little left'. (Ford op.cit.). Originally the present vase may have been fitted with a stepped black slate plinth. Another comparable large krater-form Blue John vase sold in these rooms April 9, 2009, lot 144; and another large Blue John vase with ormolu mounts sold in these rooms from the Collection of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman April 28, 2010, lot 165.
The profile of this vase is derived from an ancient Greek pottery krater, a large vessel intended for wine. Thomas Hope designed several vases of this form in bronze and gilt metal, including one appropriately ornamented with 'Baccanalian masks, vine wreaths, and other emblems of Bacchus'. (Hope, op. cit. plate XXXV). A related Regency blue john vase attributed to James Shore was sold in these rooms, April 9, 2009, lot 144.
Thomas Hope, Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, London, 1807
William Adam, Gem of the Peak, 3rd edition, 1843 and 4th edition,1848
Trevor D. Ford, 'Blue John Fluorspar', Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geographical Society, vol. 30, part I, no. 4, 15 September 1955, p. 56
Trevor D. Ford, Derbyshire Blue John, Ashbourne, 2000
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