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Sale IT209 Lot 2039

ENGLISH BLACK BASALT 'ENCAUSTIC-DECORATED' CAMEO CIRCULAR PLAQUE OF A MAENAD circa 1774, unmarked, attributed to Wedgwood & Bentley, from the 'Herculaneum Figures' series, modeled in flight wearing a billowing drape, holding a ribbon tied staff or thyrsus and extending a ribbon in her right hand, reserved on an iron-red encaustic ground, within an integral rouletted circular frame, pierced for suspension, dia. 14 1/2 in.

Provenance: Seal Simon, Philadelphia, PA (labels) gifted to
The Buten Museum of Wedgwood.
Freeman's, Philadelphia, PA, 25 May 2017, lot 135.
Jeffrey Milkins Collection, no. 885.

Catalogue Note:
For a black basalt example, see Robin Reilly, 'The Collector's Wedgwood', p. 145, fig. 137, noting that framed pieces of this type are almost never marked as they were intended for setting into the wall.

The source for the present subject is adapted from a fresco painting, located in the Villa of Cicero outside Pompeii near the Herculaneum City Gate. This Maenad is depicted in flight from west end of south wall of triclinium. For further plaques showing figures from this series see, Carol Macht, 'Classical Wedgwood Designs, The Sources and Their use and the Relationship of Wedgwood Jasper Ware to the Classical Revival of the Eighteenth Century', pp. 74-80. For another example, see the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, accession no. 2409-1901, illustrated in Colonel Maurice H. Grant, 'The Makers of Black Basaltes', pl. LI, no. 2.

At Wedgwood, the series was modeled directly from a set of fourteen bas-relief casts brought to England by the Marquis of Lansdowne. Entries for cameo plaques from this series are first listed in Wedgwood & Bentley's 1773 catalogue and are found in Josiah Wedgwood's correspondence as early as 1771. Reference, Robin Reilly, 'op. cit.', p. 484.

Literature: Robin Reilly, 'Wedgwood Vol. I', color pl. C111.
Estimate $3,000-5,000

Sold for $1,500.00


 
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