Purchase, Friends of the American Wing Fund; Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Chilton Jr., Annette de la Renta and Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Gifts; Richard Hampton Jenrette American, Sansbury-Mills and The Beatrice G. Warren and Leila W. Redstone Funds, 2012
This vase is among the most ambitious ceramics made in this nation’s early republic era. Referencing sumptuous metal-mounted French porcelains of the period, it features elaborate gilded and polychrome enamel decoration. Each side is embellished with a different view of Philadelphia, taken from print sources. On one side, is Sedgely Park, designed by distinguished architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe and the country seat of Philadelphia merchant James Fisher. It is considered to be the earliest Gothic Revival house in America. On the opposite side is the view from Springland, the country estate on the Delaware River of the artist and landscape architect William Birch. Birch was the primary proponent of the English picturesque landscape, of which he considered his own Springland, the epitome. Thus, the views celebrate quite consciously a particular moment in this nation’s history—and —America’s most noted architect, and most noted landscape architect.
Inscription: (on the front, in a reserve, below the view of Sedgeley): Sedgeley Park Seat of Mr. James/Fisher
The auction house provided the following provenance: The consignor, a Philadephian in her early 70s, was given the vases (fitted as lamps) by her parents, who told her that they had been given the vases by John Wanamaker, probably in the 1920s.