The British Museum's collections, £16.99
Height: 73.700 cm
Width: 10.600 cm (base)
Room 48: Europe 1900 to now
'Weed-holder' or vase, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
Chicago, United States of America, AD 1893-99
Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959) was a pioneering modern architect who introduced a new clean-lined style into American buildings and interiors. His incredibly long career spanned the period from Art Nouveau in the 1890s to Organic Modernism during the 1950s, his last building being the famous spiral-shaped Guggenheim Museum in New York. In his domestic buildings, he paid close attention to every detail, both inside and out. The hallmark of his early style was rectilinearity: long, low bungalow-type houses, known as prairie houses; stained glass windows with geometric patterns; and chairs constructed from flat planes of wood.
This beaten copper vase, designed during the 1890s, dates from the time when Wright had just begun to practise independently. It was inspired by his love of dried grasses and long spindly weeds, hence the use of the term 'weed-holder'. Its tall narrow form is typical of the shapes associated with Art Nouveau, particularly the geometric designs of his contemporary, the Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928). Wright used these weed-holders in his own home at Oak Park in Chicago, as well as in several other houses for his clients.
T.A. Heinz, Frank Lloyd Wright: interiors (London, Academy Editions, 1994)
D. Hanks, The decorative designs of Fran (New York, Dutton, 1979)
P. Sparke, A century of design - design p (London, 1998)
J. Rudoe, Decorative arts 1850-1950: a c, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)