The Vase Collection. 

This exhibition was produced in support of the exhibition on display at Royal Crown Derby Museum entitled -

 

"The Vase Collection - Masterpieces in the Making". 

 

Included here are images of the opening ceremony, together with images of some of the fabulous vases displayed at Royal Crown Derby Museum at that time.  In addition, we are also including images of some very fine vases from our members' collections which would not normally be available for public viewing.  They date from the Chelsea-Derby period to the present day.

This exhibition at Royal Crown Derby Museum has now ended, but other exhibitions are mounted there from time to time.  We suggest you contact Royal Crown Derby Museum for details of current exhibitions and we recommend you visit. 

 

(This exhibition featured on our website during the first half of 2015).

On 24th October 2014, the new exhibition at Royal Crown Derby was officially opened by Kevin Oakes, Chief Executive of Royal Crown Derby.  The opening was by invitation only, and the Society were pleased to be included with our Hon. Secretary Olivia Dean asked to say a few words.  Olivia is also a Trustee of the Royal Crown Derby Museum.  Though not a large exhibition, the quality of the exhibits is quite stunning with some of the very best examples still at the factory. 

Also included are examples of the "Artistry Collection".  These are shapes and designs being produced today with their roots firmly in the best traditions of Derby vases.  This collection was launched in January 2014 and clearly shows the quality of production and the skills of the workforce which still remains at the factory today.  We are very lucky as a Society that "our factory" is still at the forefront of porcelain production in this country.

(Images of the opening by kind permission of Royal Crown Derby)

A few of the vases on display at the Royal Crown Derby Museum exhibition.

All the images of vases above are reproduced by kind permission of Royal Crown Derby Museum. 

Click on the large image of each for details of the vase.

Vases from our members' collections.
Vases from the Chelsea Derby Period -

This Chelsea Derby vase is of ovoid shape with a narrow, flaring neck.  It has a white ground, with both sides decorated with hearts formed by interlaced ribbons of pink and dull green within which are flowers painted in natural colours.  A trailing foliate motif in tooled gold decorates the ribbons.  The elaborate scroll handles are picked out in gold and turquoise.  The vase is 17cm high, is unmarked and dates to c1775.  The two images illustrate the decoration to both sides of the vase.

(Private collection)

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A pair of Chelsea Derby vases with a white ground, each vase decorated with an oval portrait of a lady within a tooled gilt frame.  To the reverse is a similar oval frame within which is a landscape.  They are decorated below the rim with a raised moulding of trailing grapes and leaves, solidly gilt.  Rams head handles with wreaths of leaves suspended from them are picked out in gilt.  Above the stem is a raised design of concentric circles of overlapping leaves, picked out in gold.  The vases are 19cm high and have patch marks and a gold anchor.  One vase has an incised 36.  They date to c1775-80.

It has been traditional to attribute pieces decorated with figure and landscape subjects to Richard Askew and Zachariah Boreman respectively.  Doubt on these attributions has now been cast by the late Andrew Ledger - see the DPIS Journal 7 page 135, "Richard Askew: Unsafe Attributions".

 

A vase of similar shape and gilding, but with added ormolu mount and associated cover is shown at fig. 138, page 128 of "Derby Porcelain" (Twitchett J. 1980).

(Private collection)

Vases decorated by Desire Leroy
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Royal Crown Derby vase of ovoid shape on a circular domed base, with a long narrow ribbed neck and frilled top.  Decorated by Leroy in his "Atmospheric Style" with naturalistic wild flowers and grasses on an ivory ground, base and neck in green with raised gilding, top of the vase inside fully gilded.  Signed to the side "Leroy", height 11 inches, red mark with date cypher 1893.

(Private collection)

Another by Leroy in quite different style, with a pink ground and painted in flat white enamel with wild flowers and a butterfly.  Signed to the side "Leroy", 14 inches high, date mark for 1893. 

(Private collection)

Other Osmaston Road Vases
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Matching, and we assume the pair to a vase in the Royal Crown Derby exhibition.  Again by J. Platts, though not signed.  Red printed factory mark and date cypher for 1886.  Purchased by our member from the Royal Crown Derby Museum sale.

(Private collection)

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Derby Crown vase with a continuous panel of figures picking fruit.  Factory mark and date cypher for 1887 in gold, 17.75 inches high.  Purchased from the Royal Crown Derby Museum sale.

(Private collection)

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Derby Crown vase, the style following the Aesthetic Movement, with a bright yellow ground and heavily enamelled stylised insects, leaves and flowers.  9.5 inches in height with black Derby Crown mark below the base and red Derby Crown mark below the cover, c1878-1889.

(Private collection)

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Large twin-handled ovoid vase and cover.  Cream ground with blossom and leaves, attributed to J. A. Peach.  Height 17.75 inches.  Black Derby Crown mark, c1878-1880.

(Private collection)

The Future.

As members of the DPIS and collectors of fine porcelain, we tend to look backwards at the work produced by the various Derby factories over 250 years and lament the passing of the "good old days".  Where are the skills and talents of the craftsmen who produced those wonderful items we treasure?  What has become of them today? 

It is too easy for us to think the skills have been lost in this modern, mass produced world, but in fact "our factory" still has the craftsmen to continue producing the pieces future generations of our Society will collect and treasure.  The new Artistry range of vases is an example.  To the right you'll see an image of Jane Etherington, who is now Head Painter at Osmaston Road, working on a Repton Artistry Vase.  The Artistry collection draws on the back catalogue of vases produced at Derby for their design and decoration.  We wonder how long it will be before the first one appears at a Society seminar?

(Images by permission of Royal Crown Derby)

The three "Artistry" vases being produced at Royal Crown Derby today.

To the left - The Repton Vase.

This vase is based a shape recorded as number 1249 on 8th February 1899.  It is named after the Derbyshire village of Repton.  Derbyshire villages have often been used by the factory as names for shapes or patterns. 

To the centre - The Litherland Vase.

This vase is based on the original shape number 1409, first recorded in October 1903.  It is named after William Litherland, one of the founders of the factory on the Osmaston Road site.  Litherland was a china and glass dealer from Liverpool who brought to the business a good understanding of the market.

To the right - The L/S Vase.

The name of this vase is a direct reference to the records in the Osmaston Road shape books.  It is recorded on 15th June 1907 as L/S 15 3/4in high and given the reference number 1543.  The shape appears a number of times in the books with a variety of handle shapes. 

The painting of the vases is built up in stages and each will have at least three hand painted firings in the kilns.  The hand painting itself will take nearly two weeks for each vase, and over a day to gild.  Each piece will have a minimum of seven firings.

 The Society would like to acknowledge the help and support of Royal Crown Derby in building this exhibition, and of our members who have supported us by contributing images and details of pieces in their own collections. 

© Derby Porcelain International Society 2019.

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