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Unique Ware Vase: C.73-1992

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Unique Ware Vase


Factory: Wedgwood
Designer: Wilson, Norman




Earthenware, thrown and glazed turquoise inside and black outside. ‘Meiping’ shape vase: tall, slightly concave towards the base and widening towards a rounded upper body which closes with a small, narrow neck. The neck and shoulders are smooth, with the throwing ridges showing clearly below. The neck is finished with an out-turned, chamfered rim, which displays turquoise colour of the interior. The underside is concave and glazed, within an unglazed foot rim.


History note: Unknown before Sir Ivor and Lady Batchelor, St Andrew's, Fife.

Legal notes

Given by Sir Ivor and Lady Batchelor

Measurements and weight

Height: 26 cm
Width: 11.7 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Barlaston ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1992-04-27) by Batchelor, Ivor, Sir and Lady


20th Century, third quarter#
Elizabeth II
Production date: AD 1962 : (date noted on acquisition; Reilly dates similar vase 1953-62)


Norman Wilson (1902-85) learned his trade working in his father’s china works while studying at North Staffordshire technical College, where he won a silver medal and, later, lectured. He joined Wedgwood as Works Manager in 1927, and became joint Managing Director a few years before his retirement in 1963. His main contribution was in the technical modernisation of the factory, but he also created a number of decorative glazes (including the matt glazes used by Keith Murray and John Skeaping) and contributed to the design of successful tableware series.

The forms and glazes of ‘Unique Wares’ were created by Wilson, although he did not throw and glaze the pots himself. This vase demonstrates his admiration for the simplicity of Chinese ware. The shape, no. 4669, is that ‘meiping’ vases, popular during the Song (960–1279) and Ming (1368–1644) periods, inspired by the characteristics of a young female body: a small mouth, a short, narrow neck, a plump bosom, and a concave belly. Wilson experimented with combinations of glazes on his ‘Unique Ware’, sometimes using as many as seven, and it is likely that the highly reflective black exterior of this vase, and the varied depth of colour in the turquoise, were achieved by applying several glazes.

Components of the work

Outside composed of glaze ( `black, turquoise)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Throwing : Earthenware, thrown and glazed
Glazing (coating)

Inscription or legends present

  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Factory mark
  • Text: N
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: NW
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Rectangular paper label, typed inscription
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: top line obscured by the other label

  • Method of creation: Square paper label, inscribed in blue ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.73-1992
Primary reference Number: 12154
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Unique Ware Vase" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-24 11:39:18

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