Pair of Large Japanned Vases


A most unusual pair of cold-painted and enamelled terracotta vases of twin-handled urn shape; one decorated with a rooster standing on a drum, surrounded by flowers, the pair with a brightly coloured parrot surrounded by flowers and both against a background of chinoiserie cranes and other birds and flowers in shades of gilt on a seaweed-green ground; the reverse decorated with large scarlet roundels in japonisme style.

Height 66 cm (26 inches)
Width 36 cm (14 inches)
Circa 1860

This pair of vases are exceptional for their design, materials and scale. The majority of the decoration being cold-painted onto the terracotta body, similar to the techniques employed in Berlin and known as Berlin Lacquer, however, the cockerel, parrot and surrounding flowers appear to be decorated in underglaze polychrome which would have to be applied prior to the final firing. The lack of decoration under the cold-painted chinoiserie decoration shows that these are not fully-glazed vases which have been later ‘clobbered’ with the green ground, meaning that they were always intended to be decorated in a combination of techniques.