32. Pretty on black

This next vase is another with a new approach to decoration to those seen earlier. It feels very much part of the migration from heavily wired patterns to a wire free future. Rather than roundels and shields it begins to use the side of the vase as a canvas for whatever picture the artist desires.

What is interesting is that, where many previous vases have used the black spiral wiring as an attractive part of the design, here it gets in the way. It confuses the lines of the flowers and other elements and distracts from them. The vase would surely look better if the background was pure black.

Perhaps the workshop was anticipating the arrival of the new techniques that allowed large stretches of, for example, black or blue enamel unbroken by wire. Certainly the lovely decoration on goldstone at the neck shows that they had mastered the older skills.

ref 32.5

Whatever the reason, the vase remains charming with a subtle use of colour. It also provides a record of how competition drove workshops to be adventurous, always developing new ways to make their products stand out.

Object 32. Vase height 12.5 cm weight 144 gm.

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