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John Flaxman
1755–1826

Design for an urn

Full screen

Medium
Pencil
Size
7 ½ × 5 ¼ inches · 190 × 135 mm
Notes
With a study of a mother and child verso
Signed ‘J. Flaxman’ 
Collections
  • Edward Croft-Murray (1907-1980);
  • By descent to 2016.

Throughout his life Flaxman worked as a designer in the decorative arts. At the start of his career Flaxman was employed by the Wedgwood factory to develop neo-classical designs in ceramic and later in his life he collaborated with the silversmiths Rundell, Bridge and Rundell to design spectacular pieces of plate for the Prince Regent. This bold design for a fluted ewer, with a Bacchic figure forming the handle and antique ornament points to the richness of Flaxman’s imagination. Possibly a design for a wine jug – suggested by the grape motif – this rapid, fluid pencil sketch was probably an original idea for one of Flaxman’s projects in silver. On the revere of the sheet, Flaxman has drawn a kneeling female figure holding a child from behind, suggesting the informal nature of such sketches.