Earthenware vase decorated with gold lustre, by Walter Crane

Pilkington, Clifton Junction, Manchester, England, AD 1906

The daughters of Hesperus

This vase depicts a scene from Greek mythology. The three beautiful daughters of Hesperus, the evening star, lived in a garden guarded by a serpent, and their job was to watch over the golden apples which Hera had given to Zeus. The Hesperides, as they are known, are shown here in classical dress dancing round the apple trees, with the serpent at their feet.

Walter Crane (1845-1915) was a leading Arts and Crafts designer. He created patterns for a wide range of decorative arts during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, particularly textiles and wallpapers, though he is best known as an illustrator of children's books. Towards the end of his career Crane was invited to design some tiles by William Burton, manager of the newly established Pilkington's Tile and Pottery Company. Subsequently, between 1904 and 1906, he designed several patterns for a new range of art pottery marketed by Pilkington's under the name Royal Lancastrian Pottery.

The striking red glaze on this vase was produced through the addition of copper, which turns turquoise under normal firing conditions, but changes to red if oxygen is removed from the kiln. The metallic gold lustre decoration was hand-painted by Richard Joyce.

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Earthenware vase decorated with gold lustre, by Walter Crane

  • Base of vase

    Base of vase

  • View from other side

    View from other side


More information


J. Rudoe, Decorative arts 1850-1950: a c, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)

A.J. Cross, Pilkingtons Royal Lancastrian (London, Richard Dennis, 1980)

Whitworth Art Gallery, Walter Crane, 1845-1915: artis (Manchester, 1989)


Height: 33.900 cm

Museum number

M&ME 1989,11-3,1



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