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Blue Floating Bowls 19.36, 19.37, 19.38: C.1A-C-2020

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Blue Floating Bowls 19.36, 19.37, 19.38


Ceramicist: Lees, Nicholas




Parian, thrown, lathe turned and saturated with cobalt sulphate solution.

Three hollow beehive-shaped vessels with deeply cut concentric ‘fins’, made from thickly thrown parian lathe-turned when leather hard. Once biscuit-fired, each vessel was filled temporarily with cobalt sulphate solution, saturating the body and producing a pearlware tinge and a concentration deep cobalt blue at the fin edges. After a further firing, a small patch of fin edges towards the pointed end of each vessel was abraded to provide a stable base, so that the vessels sit with slightly upturned mouths.


History note: Bought by the donors from Cavaliero Finn, who showed these vessels at ‘Alter’, a temporary exhibition held at Fitzrovia Chapel, London, on 29 November 2019.

Legal notes

Gift of Nicholas and Judith Goodison through the Art Fund.

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 11.5 cm
Diameter: 12 cm
Diameter: 13 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Selbourne ⪼ Hampshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2020-01-27) by Goodison, Nicholas and Judith


21st Century, Early#
Production date: AD 2019


Nicholas Lees (b. 1967) completed a degree in English and History before studying ceramics in Cardiff, Bristol and at the Royal College of Art, where he is now a visiting lecturer. Informed by observing the constant shift of tide, weather and light on the Scottish coastline, he is interested in ephemerality and how our visual experience of reality is conditioned by light, space and body. The making of his ceramic sculptures alludes to historic sources, ranging from the industrial production of electrical insulators to the use of throwing and lathe turning by Wedgwood in the 18th century.The introduction of colour in these pieces is inspired by Lees’ ink on paper works, which explore movement and the uncertainty of perception through the interaction of wet and dry, while their aesthetic appeal is enhanced by his technical ingenuity. These pieces complement the museum’s extensive holdings of historic parian.

Components of the work

Decoration composed of metallic pigment ( soluable cobalt)
C.1B-2020 Height 12 cm
C.1C-2020 Height 12 cm
C.1A-2020 Height 13.5 cm

Materials used in production

Parian (porcelain)

Techniques used in production

Throwing : Parian, thrown, lathe turned and saturated with cobalt sulphate solution.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: monogram

  • Text: NL
  • Location: On a base fin of each vessel
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: 19.36
  • Location: C.1A-2020, on a base fin
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: 19.37
  • Location: C.1B-2020, on a base fin
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: 19.38
  • Location: C.1C-2020, on a base fin
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1A-C-2020
Primary reference Number: 240172
Entry form number: 509
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 28 January 2020 Updated: Tuesday 3 November 2020 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Blue Floating Bowls 19.36, 19.37, 19.38" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-16 10:01:27

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{{cite web|url= |title=Blue Floating Bowls 19.36, 19.37, 19.38 |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-06-16 10:01:27|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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