This enormous vase was produced to be the centrepiece of the British exhibit at the Chicago Exhibition in 1893. The Exhibition surpassed all its American and European predecessors in concept and scale, covering more than 200 acres and exhibiting the manufactures of 44 Nations.
The Chicago Vase was the largest vessel ever produced by the factory; it measures 1.4m high and required eight men to carry it. Safely firing this monumental piece many times to build up the painted and gilded decoration was a risky venture. It took over a year to produce and required the skills of a team of artists directed by the designer and modeller James Hadley.
The clay was pressed into giant moulds by John Finney, the raised pastework was undertaken by Thomas and George Shaw, and the gilding by Josiah Davis. At the time it was known as ‘The Seasons Vase’: its decoration reflects the changing seasons with swags of flowers and plants arranged in the natural order in which they bloom painted by the talented flower painted Edward Raby.
It is a true marvel which represents the culmination of skills and techniques developed at Royal Worcester in the 19th century.
Artist: James Hadley
Material: Glazed Parian
Factory: Royal Worcester