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Updated: 27 April 2015
Portrait medallion, jasperware (stoneware), the upper surface dipped green, oval, with applied moulded white jasper head in relief in profile to right of Sir W.J. Hooker, botanist and scientific author. Marked.
- 1865-1867 (circa)
- Factory in: Etruria
- (Europe,United Kingdom,England,Staffordshire,Stoke-on-Trent,Etruria (England))
- Length: 2.6 inches
Inscription Typemaker's mark
Inscription ContentSIR W.J. HOOKER
This convex green-ground jasper medallion depicts the great nineteenth-century botanist, Sir William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865). The same medallion is found incorporated into a fine memorial tablet of jasper ware and marble inside Kew Church on Kew Green. The memorial was commissioned by the dead man's son, Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911), who was also a botanist and took over from his father as Director of Kew Gardens. Joseph Hooker, who once owned the British Museum plate from the so-called 'Water Lily' service (registration no. 1887,0307,I.795) was a keen Wedgwood collector, beginning in the 1860s, and was principally attracted by medallions and plaques. Through his friend Charles Darwin he became ac¬quainted with the Wedgwoods, visiting Etruria where he explored the mould-chamber containing original moulds, and had several plaques reproduced by the firm. Hooker's Wedgwood collection numbering several hundred items was sold at Christie's in February 1917. The commissioning of his father's monument is recorded in correspondence preserved in the Wedgwood archives. The monu¬ment was designed by Hooker's cousin Reginald Palgrave and the medallion by Thomas Woolner, the pre-Raphaelite sculptor and poet. On the memorial the jasper ware portrait is in white on a blue ground and is surrounded by four green jasper slabs with groups of ferns; above is another slab containing a design in relief of wheat and grass and a crucifix. The small medallion in the British Museum may have been a trial piece, or may even have been made specially for friends of the dead man. There is a square example in blue jasper ware in the Royal Scottish Museum, with its own satin-lined box stamped in gold with the name of the Manchester jewellers Olivant and Botsford.
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
Portrait medallion, jasperware (stoneware) oval cameo; white relief head in profile to right of Sir W.J. Hooker, botanist and scientific author; moulded and applied to green jasper dip ground.
Reproduced by permission of the artist. © The Trustees of the British Museum
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Object reference number: MCN11441
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