Skip to main content

'Porphyry' vase: C.121-2015

Object information

Awaiting location update


'Porphyry' vase


Factory: Wedgwood
Designer: Wilson, Norman




Earthenware, moulded and thrown, decorated with coloured oxides, glazed and gilded.

Vase, krater shape (flared bowl standing on a convex base) with small scallop-shaped lugs. The outside covered in flecked brown and grey, resembling porphyry, with gold outlines around the base, neck, scallop lugs and gadrooning at the base of the bowl. The inside is undecorated cream, and glazed. The underside has a narrow foot-ring, within which it is glazed and rises to a small, central vent hole.


History note: Unknown before Sir Ivor and Lady Batchelor, St Andrew's, Fife. On loan since 2006.

Legal notes

Given by Sir Ivor and Lady Batchelor

Measurements and weight

Height: 17.7 cm
Width: 13.6 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Barlaston ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (2015-04-27) by Batchelor, Ivor, Sir and Lady


20th Century, third quarter#
Elizabeth II
1958 CE - 1962 CE


In the 1950s, Wedgwood’s experimentation with glazes was lead by Norman Wilson (1902-85). Wilson 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 decorative glazes (including the matt glazes used by Keith Murray and John Skeaping), contributed to the design of successful tableware series and created his own of ‘Unique Wares’ which explore forms and experimental glazes, sometimes using several glazes on a single pot.

This vase revisits Josiah Wedgwood’s introduction of classical vase forms and ‘porphyry’ or ‘pebble’ glazes, in the 1770s. Alongside variegated wares produced by mixing clays or trailing or painting coloured slips, natural stone was imitated by sprinkling powdered oxides onto the biscuit ware or, perhaps, onglaze. By 1772 Wedgwood claimed ‘upwards of 100 good forms’ of such vases. Most of these early examples were gilded and produced in pairs with matching plinths.

Components of the work

Decoration composed of oxide colours glaze

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Throwing : Earthenware, moulded, thrown, sprinkled with oxides and glazed

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: WEDGWOOD
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: 11 Z 58
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark

Inscription present: 'WEDGWOOD' printed in blue, remainder inscribed

  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Rectangular paper label, printed in blue, inscribed in black
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.121-2015
Primary reference Number: 205005
Batchelor number: none
Entry form number: 648
Old object number: AAL.121-2006
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 4 August 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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "'Porphyry' vase" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-15 21:11:38

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title='Porphyry' vase |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-15 21:11:38|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

More objects and works of art you might like


Accession Number: C.55-1954


Accession Number: O.27-1991


Accession Number: ML.27-1992


Accession Number: C.27-1912

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...