Vase with turbulent history; Under the Hammer.
THE May Fine Art & Antique Sale attracted considerable interest, with the highest price achieved by an 1834 silver tureen, modelled on the Warwick Vase, by Robert Hennell which realised PS13,800.
The Warwick Vase is an ancient Roman marble vase discovered at Hadrian''s Villa, Tivoli (just outside Rome), in about 1771 by Gavin Hamilton, a Scottish painter, antiquarian and art dealer in Rome.
The vase was found in the silt of a marshy pond in the villa''s extensive grounds where Hamilton had obtained excavation rights. He then sold the fragments to Sir William Hamilton, British envoy at the court of Naples, who had the task of restoring the vase.
Lord Warwick acquired the vase during a stay at Warwick Castle, but two years later it was deposited in Warwick castle''s courtyard where it remained, displayed without its pedestal. After six years, however, the Earl realised this situation could not continue and gave orders for the building of a greenhouse to display it.
Warwick Castle greenhouse, designed and built by local mason William Eboral, had a facade of five long windows in the Gothic style.
In 1858 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited and wrote in her journal of walking in the beautiful grounds and of having 'looked in a sort of greenhouse at the celebrated Warwick Vase'. '.
When Queen Victoria saw the greenhouse there was a gravel path directly below its windows which looked out over a lawn running down to the Avon. This was to change 11 years later when in 1869 the landscape gardener Robert Marnock was commissioned by the 4th Earl of Warwick to create a terrace and fern garden.
The setting for the vase created by the 5th Countess of Warwick, arguably the most beautiful it was to know, lasted only a short time. Her successor, Marjorie 6th Countess, had the fern garden removed and the vase displayed against the austere background of a white plaster wall. In 1969 ownership of Warwick Castle and the Warwick Vase passed from the 7th earl to his son, David Lord Brooke. He commenced the sale and removal of works of art in 1977, with the sale of the vase itself which was to be exported to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Fortunately this disaster was prevented.
Today the Warwick Vase forms part of the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, and the castle greenhouse, though splendidly restored, has only a copy of the work it was created to display.
Our next fine art and antique sale is on June 27 and entries are invited for this sale. For detail of our valuation days call 01704 538489 or email a photo for valuation email:email@example.com, or we can come to you.