This pair of impressive Bluejohn vases is closely related to a pair in the Palazzo Reale, Madrid. The integrally carved finial lids differ, however, the shape of the body and even the square stepped plinth of white and black slate marble are almost identical.
The subtle shades of this stone range from violet to deep purple and incorporate oranges and yellows as well as some translucent grey-opaque veining are typical of the best of this rare fluorspar deposit from the Castleton area of Derbyshire. Known and prized since Roman times, it was only mined in quantity when the neighbouring spa town of Buxton became fashionable in the mid-18th Century and an industry developed to supply objects to the affluent visitors. The Bluejohn stone was exported in the late 18th Century to France for luxurious objects, hence the name is a corruption of their appellation 'bleu jaune'.