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Cylindrical vase with blue-and-white botanical design and gold accents

This narrow, cylinder-shaped vase stands on a four-footed decorative gold base. The base has raised scroll-like designs. The vase itself is matte white enamel. It has inlaid designs of several different types of flowers and leaves in shades of blue, along with some dark green areas near the bottom. The white background is divided into many small cloud shapes. The the lines dividing the enamel shapes are made of gold. An elaborate gold rim with openwork circles surrounds the top of the vase. Its shape is crown-like.

Gallery Text

The British metalsmithing firm Elkington & Company used a new and, for the time, cutting-edge technology to produce these vases. The base and body of each vessel were electroformed, a process that activated an electrical charge to deposit base metals into a mold. Once this work was complete, the vases were painstakingly enameled by hand in the Japanese style.

This blend of new technology and traditional hand skill — a combination that the manufacturer promoted as an amalgam of “artistic taste and chemical cunning” — found a ready audience in America. Enameled vases like these received great acclaim at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial, where they were exhibited as part of the Elkington & Company display.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Manufactured by Elkington & Co., British (1824-1968)
Work Type
c. 1876
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2100, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, Centuries of Tradition, Changing Times: Art for an Uncertain Age
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Physical Descriptions

Enamel on gilt metal; gilt metal stand
35.9 x 13.4 cm (14 1/8 x 5 1/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: inscribed on vase: Elkington & Co.; stamped on bottom of stand: ELKINGTON & CO. / 337


Recorded Ownership History
[Bonham's, London, July 6, 2011, lot 228, withdrawn]. [Sinai and Sons, London] sold; to Harvard Art Museums, 2013

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Paul Clarke Stauffer Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Exhibition History

  • 32Q: 2100 19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Related Works

Verification Level

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