National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through The Art Foundation of Victoria by Mr Keith M. Deutsher, Founder Benefactor, 1993
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
18th Century Decorative Arts - Great Hall Costume Corridor Level 2, NGV International
Vase with serpent-shaped handles from Medusa heads, sits on socle foot on a square base. Finial on lid in the form of winged horse Pegasus. Relief decoration shows 'Apotheosis of Homer'. Drum-shaped pedestal, decorated with festoons and trophies, is based on the form of a classical urn.
Wedgwood’s vase shows the elevation of Homer to a divine status. It was modelled after a Greek red-figured bell krater illustrated in the third of Pierre-François Hugues d’Hancarville’s volumes of Sir William Hamilton’s vases (1766). John Flaxman interpreted the red and black of d’Hancarville’s illustration to make a low-relief design of great elegance. Ancient Greek vase painting emphasised the silhouette, and this aspect was newly prized by the rising generation of Neoclassical artists seeking purity and simplicity. The drum-shaped pedestal, decorated with festoons and trophies, is based on the form of a Classical urn, published in volume five of Bernard de Montfaucon’s L’Antiquité expliquée.