The straight tapering sides of Wedgwood's "Upright" shape were well suited to compositions...
The straight tapering sides of Wedgwood's "Upright" shape were well suited to compositions following the classical frieze formula. Sacrificial processions offered the opportunity to present graceful vertical figures highlighted against Wedgwood's rich jasper colors. In many cases these compositions center upon some sort of altar; here we see one altar with a smoking brazier and on the reverse side a pedestal altar surmounted by a statue of cupid--or perhaps the arrogant little god himself. Draped female figures, as well as a prominent tree beneath the spout, all stand a bit isolated, but all contribute to the overall composition.
A horizontal section above the figures, defined by a narrow raised band, features Wedgwood's elaborate grapevine or "fruiting border."
|Mark:||Impressed WEDGWOOD, ENGLAND|
|Date:||1891 - c. 1908|
|Dimensions:||Height 7 1/;4 in; width 6 in.; diameter 4 3/8 in. (Foot)|
|Condition:||Fine, two slight nicks under foot
Identification of the various relief subjects utilized by Wedgwood is a favorite past time...
Identification of the various relief subjects utilized by Wedgwood is a favorite past time of ceramic scholars and connoisseurs. Most derive, like these, from eighteenth century relief groups. Figures on the smoking brazier side of our example derive from "An offering to Peace," likely the work of the aristocratic amateur artist Lady Templeton. Figures from the Cupid side derive from a similar grouping known as "Sacrifice to Cupid."
What makes the source-spotting more challenging and amusing is Wedgwood's practice of employing elements of these groups in a way that moderns would term "mix and match." The size and scale of the vessel under consideration mattered far more than the logical context of the figures. Still, the composition of "Upright" jugs remained fairly consistent, and the figures, in any array, convey Wedgwood's signature brand of classical (or rather neo-classical) beauty..
Finally, we have included an image showing this jug and a smaller version, as well as a group display of jugs--all currently available from Seekers.