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Two-handled songbird vase (pair): C.29-2014

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 26 (Lower Marlay)


Two-handled songbird vase (pair)


Factory: Tegel- en Fayencefabriek Amphora Factory
Factory: Rozenburg Royal Delftware Factory
Designer: Kok, Jurriaan Jurriaan
Designer and decorator: Schellink, Samuel




Eggshell porcelain, decorated underglaze in polychrome enamels with hand-painted motifs.

Tall eggshell porcelain vase, baluster shape, hand-painted in polychrome enamels with bird, poppy and foliage motifs in Art Nouveau style. Circular in plan, with tall gently-concave body rising to a long narrow neck, the top of the neck slightly wider than the bottom. Two strap handles, cast with the body, rise from the shoulders and rejoin the vase towards the top of the neck. The overall form suggests an erect female body with arms raised to her head. Decorated with a finely painted flowing floral design. On one side is a black-headed songbird which appears to be flying out of the body. On other side is a large spray of orange oriental poppies.


History note: Purchased from a Cambridgeshire collector of Art Nouveau ceramics, November 2014

Legal notes

Given by the friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum and with a grant from the V & A Grant Fund

Measurements and weight

Base Width: 8.5 cm
Height: 36.5 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Oegstgeest ⪼ Netherlands
  • The Hague ⪼ Netherlands

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (2014-11-14) by Popper, John


20th Century, Early
Production date: circa AD 1914


In 1914, Rozenburg went into liquidation. The undecorated stock was bought by Tegal-en Fayencefabriek Amphora factory in Oegstgeest and Rozenburg painters were hired to finish it. Thus, this vase was cast in the Rozenburg factory from a model designed by Kok, painted by Schellink and sold under the Amphora mark. There is another very similar but differently coloured vase in the Fitzwilliam collection, on display with other examples of eggshell porcelain.

The Rozenburg Royal Delftware Factory (1883-1917) launched ‘eggshell’ porcelain at the 1900 Paris World Fair, and it was highly popular for a decade or so. The porcelain, similar in composition to bone china, was very thinly slip-cast, with handles and spouts formed in one piece with the body. A high temperature biscuit firing (up to c.1,500°C) produced a hard, transparent, non-porous surface. After hand-painting with enamels, a lower temperature final firing conserved the bright colours. The organic shape of this vase is typical of Art Nouveau.

The vase was painted by Samuel Schellink (1876-1947), a leading Rozenburg designer and painter, the fine detail of the painting complementing the delicate curves of the pot. The shape, model no. 109, is illustrated in the Modellenboek of the factory’s general director, Jurriaan Kok (1861-1919), who introduced eggshell porcelain after lengthy experimentation. Several different vase shapes were introduced, as well as chocolate, tea and coffee sets, though surviving pieces are rare, because the material is so fragile.

School or Style

Art Nouveau

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of glaze ( clear) enamels

Materials used in production

Eggshell porcelain

Techniques used in production

Slip casting : Eggshell porcelain, slip-cast, glazed and hand-painted with enamels

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: ’‘AMPHORA / HOLLAND’
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Transfer printed
  • Type: Factory mark
  • Text: 'W458'
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Painted
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: a double ‘S’ mark in which a lower case ‘s’ is inserted into the bottom curve of a capital ‘S’
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Painted
  • Type: Painter's mark

Inscription present: (model number)

  • Text: 'M109'
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.29-2014
Primary reference Number: 201254
Entry form number: 1077
Old object number: AAL.3-2013
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 31 March 2015 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Friday 16 February 2024

Associated departments & institutions

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

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