Though Wedgwood is not known as a pioneer in the development of transfer printing, the "Bl...
Though Wedgwood is not known as a pioneer in the development of transfer printing, the "Blue Claude" pattern demonstrates the prowess achieved by the pottery. By varying the depth of the engraving on the printing plate, the engraver, Thomas Sparkes, achieved a masterful mixture of light and dark blue tones in both the center scene and border.
Two idlers have chosen a rocky vantage point to observe the passage of ships in an active harbor. The light reaching them across the waters throws the figures into silhouette. In the midground, ruined buildings--their neglect indicated by encroaching foliage--and a towering tree frame the scene left and right.
Close studies of three different flowering plants, backed by a blue-on-blue ornamental band with scrolls and anthemion, provide a contrasting border.
|Dimensions:||Diameter 9 3/4 in.|
None of Wedgwood's educated consumers would have been confused by the name "Blue Claude."...
None of Wedgwood's educated consumers would have been confused by the name "Blue Claude." Claude was the commonly used moniker for the seventeenth-century French painter Claude Lorrain, easily the most admired exemplar of landscape painting. (Constable called him "perfect;" young Turner wept at the impossibility of equaling his example.)
Harbor scenes were something of a Claudian speciality. We have included his well-known "Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba." The setting of the painting, as well as the deep perspective and the direction of light, could well have influenced Sparkes in this design.
Sparkes seemed to have chosen to frame his active harbor scene with elements from Claude's more pastoral works--overgrown ruins, massive trees, and rustic details including a grazing goat. The close country/city juxtaposition lends a charming improbability to the tribute composition.
Seekers can currently offer three "Blue Claude" dinner plates: two well matched as a pair, one a bit darker in tone.