Diameter: 29.900 cm
Room 47: Europe 1800-1900
Green-glazed earthenware vase made by Théodore Deck
Paris, France, AD 1880
In the form of a Chinese vessel
The second half of the nineteenth century was a time of great stylistic eclecticism in the West. Designers found inspiration in many different historical and cultural sources, including Islamic, Japanese and Chinese decorative art. This earthenware vase adopts the shape of a fourteenth-century Chinese bronze wine vessel called a hu. The moulded low relief images under the dark green glaze depict fantastic birds, animal masks and geometric patterns, and are similar to the type of cast decoration found on twelfth-century Chinese bronzes. The vase itself stands on the plinth made of gilt bronze.
Trained as a chemist and a sculptor, Joseph-Théodore Deck (1823-91) established his pottery in Paris in 1856 after gaining experience working in various ceramic stove factories in Strasbourg, Vienna and Berlin. During the course of his career he worked in many different styles, including Italian Renaissance and Turkish Iznik, as well as Chinese. Deck was a great technical innovator as well as a talented artist. He was eventually appointed Director of the Sèvres ceramics factory in Paris in 1888, where he worked for three years until his death in 1891.
J. Rudoe, Decorative arts 1850-1950: a c, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)