Potpourri or perfume vase - ROM2009_11072_1


Potpourri or perfume vase

Maker: Chelsea Porcelain Manufactory (English, active c. 1745-1784), Gold Anchor period (1758-1770)
Medium:Soft-paste porcelain, bone-ash added, overglaze polychrome enamel-painted decoration and gilding
Geography: Probably Lawrence Street factory, Chelsea, London, England
Date: c.1765-1769
Period: Rococo
54 x 36.35 x 23.2 cm
Object number: 2008.32.1.1
Credit Line: Purchased in memory of Mona Campbell; This acquisition was made possible with the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust, and funds provided by the T. Eaton Co. Ltd., Mr. Albert L. Koppel, Mr. Gerald R. Larkin, and Dr. Morton Shulman, by exchange; Certified by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. Attestée par la Commission canadienne d'examen des exportations de biens culturels en vertu de la Loi sur l'exportation et l'importation de biens culturels.
Not on view
DescriptionThis vase is an outstanding example of the highest quality of eighteenth century English ceramic production. The complex shape and modelling of the vase, its monumental size, along with its polychrome enamel coloured painted compositions and the gold ground with its tooled decoration are all of the highest quality and are a technical tour-de-force. The enamelled decoration on the front and back reserves of the vase show the fashion for Orientalism and Chinoiserie that influenced both painting and the decorative arts throughout the eighteenth century. The depictions on the vase are allegorical, as indeed is the vase itself. On one side of the vase musicians in exotic costumes play a lute-like instrument or strike a tambourine-an allegory of the sense of hearing. On the other side a person, again wearing exotic dress, picks fruit under an umbrella-an allegory of the sense of taste. These visual depictions of the allegories of the senses of hearing and taste in turn allude to the sense of sight, and the very physical complexity of the rococo shapes alludes to the sense of touch. All of these disguised and more obvious allusions to the senses are appropriate to and complement the function of the vase as a pot-pourri, with its disguised allusion to the sense of smell.
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