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    Sale 7561

    Simon Sainsbury The Creation of an English Arcadia

    18 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 93

    A GEORGE III BLUE-JOHN AND ALABASTER OVAL SOLID URN

    CIRCA 1780

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A GEORGE III BLUE-JOHN AND ALABASTER OVAL SOLID URN
    CIRCA 1780
    The gadrooned body with a band of Vitruvian scroll on a waisted socle and rectangular plinth bordered with black and white marble, finial and slate base replaced
    15 in. (38 cm.) high; 10 in. (26 cm.) wide


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    This Blue John 'mantelpiece garniture' urn reflects the later 18th century Pompeian Etruscan fashion for room decoration with Grecian urns and Roman vases instead of Chinese porcelain. Evoking sacrifices at love's altar in antiquity, the ovoid plinth-supported urn of Derbyshire amethystine fluorspar is of festive wine-krater form, gadrooned by 'Pan' reeds and wreathed by a lily-white ribbon that is sculpted in bas-relief with wave-scrolls in Vitruvian manner. Its 'altar' pedestal, of appropriately wave-figured purple spar, stands on a Grecian Etruscan black base and is likewise enriched with white 'marble' mouldings. Manufactures from the Blue John mines in Treak Cliff, near Castleton, were increasingly popularized by the George III 'Roman' fashion for Columbaria vase-chambers introduced during the 1760s. It is likely to have formed part of the furnishings of Stoneleigh, Warwickshire introduced by Thomas Leigh, 5th Baron Leigh (d. 1786). A closely related oval shaped urn with Vitruvian scroll ribbon is illustrated Alexandra Sitwell, Derbyshire Blue John, 1990, fig. 9.

    Special Notice

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    Provenance

    Almost certainly acquired by James Henry Leigh (d.1823) for Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire in the 1780s.
    Thence by descent with the Lords Leigh, Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire; sold Christie's house sale, 15-16 October 1981, lot 28.
    Acquired from Christopher Gibbs, 9 December 1981.