A very fine and rare antique Josiah Wedgwood black basalt sphinx in the Egyptian style sat on a rectangular base and dating between 1770 and 1810.
An example of this piece is held in the collection of the Smithsonian, National Museum of American History which best describes the manufacture process as follows. 'The sphinx is made from Wedgwood basalt, a black vitrified stoneware made from refined ball clay, ironstone slag and ochre, which when mixed together with manganese colored the clay to a dense black. Josiah Wedgwood’s basalt, developed in the late 1760s, was of higher quality than previous black stonewares made in Staffordshire known as “Egyptian black”, made from a local clay mixed with iron oxide from the nearby coal mines, a substance known as “carr.” Wedgwood’s black basalt was particularly successful for the manufacture of pieces with finely modeled detail in relief, like his series of medallions, for engine-turned vessels, vases with encaustic decoration (the so-called “Etruscan vases”), and for small scale sculptures like the sphinxes seen here.'
This rare example has an old auction and loose collectors paper label to the base and is in very good original condition.
Origin : England
Maker : Josiah Wedgwood
Manufacture Date : Circa 1770-1810
Materials : Clay
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