Portland Vase

Portland Vase

c.1790

Josiah Wedgwood and Sons

(Britain, Staffordshire, est. 1759)

Jasperware with applied decoration

Overall: 26.4 x 17.8 cm (10 3/8 x 7 in.)

Gift of Mrs. L. E. Holden 1918.823

Did you know?

While the scene depicted here is not known for certain, many scholars believe that the Portland Vase portrays the wedding of Peleus and Thetis from Greek mythology.

Description

The original Portland Vase is a Roman antiquity, made of dark-blue glass, dating from the first century AD. Such a rare archaeological find fascinated aristocratic collectors and artists alike, and eventually the vase came into the hands of the 3rd Duke of Portland in the 1780s. Around 1790 the duke lent the vase to the potter Josiah Wedgwood to make exact replicas in ceramic, of which the Cleveland example is one of the first editions. Eventually, the 4th Duke of Portland deposited the original Roman vase in the British Museum, where it resides today.

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