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Venus & Cupid vase: C.10 & A-1986

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Venus & Cupid vase


Factory: Turner and Abbott (Possibly)
Factory: William & John Turner (Possibly)




Two-handled white jasper ware vase and cover with relief decoration in blue and black set on polished black jasper base. Decorated on one side with Galatea or Venus standing in a shell chariot drawn by dolphins and accompanied by Cupid on a dolphin, and on the other, with a nymph and Cupid on an eagle.

White jasper ware with relief decoration in blue and black standing on a polished black jasper base. Tapering oval body with short neck and two upward scroll handles, fluted and with leafage at junction with the body; separately moulded slender stem spreading to circular foot set on octagonal base and attached to the body with a central bolt; domed cover with cone-shaped finial. The main field is decorated with a blue relief on each side: in one, Galatea (or Venus) stands in a shell drawn over the sea by two dolphins and accompanied by Cupid on a dolphin, a butterfly and a dragonfly; the other has a nymph in billowing drapery and Cupid on an eagle, above the clouds. Below there is a band of black guilloche and blue stiff leaves rising from a band of black beading at the junction of the stem and body; above there is a band of black Greek key pattern and on the shoulder, blue flower heads. The neck is decorated with blue leaves and black beadwork and the foot with black flower heads and blue acanthus-like leaves. The cover is decorated with blue stiff leaves radiating from blue beading, and the finial with black stiff leaves.


History note: Purchased from Winifred Williams (Robert Williams), 3 Bury Street, London, SW1

Legal notes

Purchased with the Rylands Fund.

Measurements and weight

Height: 28.5 cm
Width: 16.1 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Longton ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (1986-07-28) by Williams, Winifred


18th Century, Late
Circa 1785 CE - 1795 CE


Jasper, an unglazed fine stoneware with an impervious surface sheen, was introduced by Wedgwood in the mid 1770s and John Turner was the first to produce his own version (see Hillier). As on this vase, the jasper body was often decorated with sprigs - designs formed in small plaster, clay or brass moulds and applied when the clay was leather hard. The Turners were known for their sharply modelled sprigging and other leading businesses such as Adams and Spode are known to have bought up sprig moulds in the 1806 bankrupcy sale.

The Turner family business ran for some seventy years from c.1760, mainly at Lane End, Longton. Started by John Turner (1738-1787), it passed on his death to his sons William and John from 1792-1803. In 1804 John Turner retired and the firm continued as Turner(s), Glover & Simpson until bankruptcy in 1806. William Turner continued potting elsewhere until 1829. The firm was one of the largest manufacturers of dry-bodied stoneware, making jasper, white stoneware and caneware.

The relief showing Venus, the goddess of love, in a shell-shaped chariot drawn over the waves by two dolphins uses a familiar motif recalling her birth from the sea. Her son Cupid rides a dolphin, also a commonly found attribute. The dolphins perhaps represent affection. In the second image Venus pursues her mischievous son as he rides away on an eagle.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Base composed of jasper ware ( black, polished)
Decoration composed of jasper ware ( blue and black)
Vase composed of jasper ware ( white)

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: 3/TURNER
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.10 & A-1986
Primary reference Number: 71113
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 4 July 2023 Last processed: Friday 15 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Venus & Cupid vase" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-23 02:50:31

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