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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Hydria (water jar)

Hydria (water jar)

ca. 450 B.C.

Over two thousand years separate the dates of these vessels. Each is wheel thrown and hand decorated, but the Wedgwood vase is more rigid in form and lacks the wonderfully detailed painting and wear seen on the ancient Greek example. Josiah Wedgwood created his innovative black basalt ware during the Enlightenment when there was a renewed European interest in the art of ancient Greece and Rome. Inspired by the classical red-figured Greek vases, Wedgwood set out to copy those wares, but soon found that the decoration on the originals was much more complicated than he first thought. It was not until the middle of the twentieth century that the original formula for the fluid black slip-using urine or stale wine mixed with pigments and clay-was known.

Ceramic with red-figure decoration
13 3/8 in. (34 cm)
Girth: 36 5/8 in.
Norman and Amelia Davis Classical Collection
Provenance: [Folio Fine Art Ltd., by December 1967]; purchased from gallery by Seattle Art Museum (with funds from Norman and Amelia Davis), January 1968
Not currently on view


Published ReferencesSotheby's, London, Sale 27 November 1967, p. 69 (lot no. 161), illus.

Beazley, J.D., Paralipomena: Additions to Attic black-figure vase-painters and to Attic red-figure vase-painters, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971, no. 43, p. 452 (as London market)

Bliquez, Lawrence J. Classical Vases and Containers in the Collection of the Seattle Art Museum. Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1985, no. 18, p. 23

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