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Catalog Data

Medium:
Glass, paint
Style:
Neoclassical
Type:
Vases
Date:
ca.1830-1920
Period:
Victorian (1837-1901)
Description:
Clear glass vase with gold enamel decoration. The vase has been overpainted with gold laurel leaves, anthemion, and banding, and features four laurel crowns tied with ribbon. The form and decoration of this vase are in the Neoclassical style. The most popular style of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century leading up to the Victorian era (1837-1901) was Neoclassicism. In America it has been called the American Empire style, Greek Revival, or Grecian style and was called Regency or Empire style in Europe. Neoclassicism was seen in painting, sculpture, furnishings, architecture, fashion, and even politics. This revival of classical taste was encouraged by the increased interest in classical, ancient, and antique forms inspired by recent excavations of in Italy, Greece, and Egypt. Neoclassicism pulled motifs, ornamentation, and forms from antiquity, as well as the Renaissance interpretation of the classical world. Elements of neoclassical design included fretwork, columns, palmettes, pilasters, acanthus leaves, tulips and lotus motifs, grotesque masks, processional reliefs, mythical creatures, laurel garlands, fruit swags, scrolls, tassels, fringe, passementerie, frieze decoration, lyres, and vases; as well as accurate depictions of flora, fauna, birds, and insects; and repeating patterns such as the Greek key and egg-and-dart. A characteristic of Neoclassical designs is strict symmetry of all the elements.
Label Text:
Since ancient Egyptian times, containers for plants, flowers, herbs, and edible plants have evolved according to the needs, fashions, and technology of the time. Through the centuries, these vessels have influenced the horticultural and aesthetic role of plants, and allowed for their cultivation, transportation, and display. The Industrial Revolution in the 1800s brought mechanization and mass production techniques that allowed a variety of eclectic plant containers to be produced cheaply and efficiently. Cast-iron, china, terra cotta, and wooden plant containers were readily available in variety of styles and sizes. With a long historical tradition of designs and styles of containers to draw on in the nineteenth century, Victorians displayed their plants in a diverse collection of vases depending on the family’s income and taste.
In the 1800s, vases were made in endless varieties, both of form and material, at prices to suit almost any budget. Vases are intended to hold and support bouquets of living or dried flowers, or they might be purely decorative. It is their use and not their form that makes them a vase and not something else. Some held large quantities of flowers and plants, while others were made for only a single bud. The Victorian emphasis on the “appropriate” led to many containers designed for a specific flower or foliage, whereas other containers could hold almost any variety. Floral containers were often displayed in pairs on a shelf, table, or mantelpiece or as alone as centerpiece or accent decoration. According to many publications of the time, vase of flowers was considered one of the most beautiful adornments for the home or the church.
Topic:
glass  Search this
vases  Search this
decorative arts  Search this
Flower arrangement  Search this
Victorian  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
1986.008
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/aq46799fa68-3c62-4113-923c-d5ca091a2e48
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:hac_1986.008