- Museum number
Plaque, jasper ware, rectgangular, coloured blue, ornamented with a moulded applied relief in white jasper of the Crowning of a Kitharist/Apotheosis of Homer. Marked.
- Production date
- 1778-1779 (circa)
Length: 14.90 inches
Width: 7.30 inches
- Curator's comments
- Jenkins & Sloan 1996
Made at Etruria after a design modelled by John Flaxman in 1778, and marked with his name.
The inspiration for this decorative plaque is usually said to be an engraving in the third volume of AEGR (printed in 1776) after a vase now in the British Museum (see G&R 1772,0320.26). A letter from Thomas Bentley to Sir William, however, suggests that at the time Flaxman modelled the design in 1778, the engraving was unknown to Wedgwood and Bentley and that they had relied upon a drawing sent by d'Hancarville himself, who was now resident in England. The letter was written by Thomas Bentley on 26 February 1779 by way of explaining the gift of one of the plaques to Sir William: 'Having modelled a large tablet from one of the unpublished designs in your Excellency's collection at the British Museum, which we copied from a drawing lent us by Mr d'Hancarville ... we could not resist the desire of presenting you with a copy.' Bentley went on to quiz Hamilton on the subject of the vase, which Wedgwood and Bentley will have been told by d'Hancarville represented the Apotheosis of Homer. The latter gave this explanation in AEGR and repeated it in his manuscript catalogue of the Hamilton collection compiled in 1778. Hamilton was more circumspect about the subject in his letter of acknowledgement: 'I have the pleasure of receiving safe your delightful bas-relief of the Apotheosis of Homer, or some celebrated poet.'
LITERATURE: Reilly, 1, pp.583-4, fig. 845; Ramage, 1990b, pp.74-5; Dawson, p.107; Young, p. 61, c8. The correspondence quoted is: Birmingham, Ala., Chellis Coll. MS (Bentley), and Barlaston, Wedgwood Museum, Wedgwood MS E32-5365 (Hamilton's reply dated Naples, 22 June 1779).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number