Portland Vase

Roman vase (1st century AD) of dark-blue glass decorated with white figures, the finest surviving Roman example of cameo glass.

It came into the possession of the duke of Portland in the 18th century. The vase has been extensively copied, particularly in the Victorian period. The most accurate copies were made in jasperware with white figures in relief (by Josiah Wedgwood, 1790) and in glass (1876). In 1845, while in the British Museum (where it still resides), the original vase was smashed, necessitating painstaking restoration.

Portland Vase, Roman cameo glass, 1st century AD; in the British Museum

By courtesy of the trustees of the British Museum

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▪ ancient Roman vase
 Roman (ancient Rome) vase (1st century AD) of dark blue glass decorated with white figures, the finest surviving Roman example of cameo glass. Originally owned by the Barberini Family (and sometimes called the Barberini Vase), it came into the possession of the duchess of Portland in the 18th century. The vase has been extensively copied, particularly during the Victorian period. The most accurate copies, however, were those made by Josiah Wedgwood (Wedgwood, Josiah), who, in 1790, copied it in jasperware with white figures in relief, and by John Northwood of Stourbridge, Eng., who copied it in glass (completed 1876). In 1845, while in the British Museum (where it is now), the original vase was smashed, necessitating skillful and painstaking restoration.

Additional Reading
Susan Walker, The Portland Vase (2004); Nigel Williams, The Breaking and Remaking of the Portland Vase (1989); Robin Brooks, The Portland Vase: The Extraordinary Odyssey of a Mysterious Roman Treasure (2004).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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