Hot water urn

ARTIST / MAKER: Henry Greenway (maker)
DATE: 1778-1779 (made)
PLACE: England (made)

This urn by Henry Greenway is designed in the neo-classical style. It is adorned with two applied oval plaques and a spout cast in the form of a swan amongst bulrushes. One plaque features Apollo playing the lyre, the mould for which was designed by the sculptor John Flaxman and is today preserved in the Wedgwood Museum. Flaxman was working for Wedgwood at this time but later went on to work for the royal goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge and Rundell. The shape of the urn is inspired by a volute krater, an ancient vessel used to mix water and wine. Interest in classical antiquity markedly increased following the archaeological excavations at Herculaneum in 1738 and Pompeii in 1748. Shapes such as this vase were reproduced in fashionable publications, notably Sir William Hamilton’s ‘Collection of Etruscan, Greek and Roman Antiquities’ which was published by Baron d’ Hancarville in 1766.