Having served his apprenticeship under Messrs. Coade and Sealy, Mark Blanchard (d.1870) set up on his own account in the Lambeth Road in 1839. It is most likely that he purchased some of the Coade moulds at the sale of 1843 and as late as 1855, in an advertisement placed in the Builder, claimed himself to be 'late of Coade's original works, and successor to them in the manufacture of this invaluable material that has been so successfully adopted for nearly a century in this country by our eminent architects and others....' Adopting Coade's formula and style, his earlier pieces have the buff colour of Coade, but later changing over to the strongly coloured terracotta favoured by the Victorians. He later moved, around 1883, to Bishops Waltham, to be nearer the clay beds, the source of his raw material, on the estate of Sir Arthur Helps, who had already established the Bishops Waltham Clay Company there in 1862. By the middle of the century he had emerged as one of the leading manufacturers of terracotta in Britain largely because of its revival for architectural use as well as for garden ornament. Examples can be seen at Buckingham Palace and in the enrichments to the Victoria and Albert museum. He was awarded prizes for his exhibit at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and John Marriot Blashfield remarked in his essay on terracotta that this exhibit has inspired him to make something similar.
The paler colour of these snake vases would suggest that they may be from Blanchard's earlier years of production. The writhen snake handles are to be found on other Blanchard pieces; a pair of urns with Medusa masks sold Christie's, Clifton Little Venice, 6th June 1994, lot 101.