Prometheus Vase


Prometheus Vase



Bone china, with applied, slip cast figures of Prometheus and captive Gauls, gilt, silvered and bronzed, and with 'Bleu celeste' turquoise glaze. Urn shaped vase manufactured in three parts with the base bolted on to the main body. Vase on a gilded foot with raised gilt ribbing on which lies a ring of laurel banded by four bronzed snakes whose heads reach up towards the body across an area of turquoise glaze. This tapers towards a gilt area, the lower part of which has a raised gilt decoration of acanthus leaves. Above this, immediately underneath the turquoise main body of the vase, there is an area of plain gilding broken by a silver ring. Two pairs of half recumbent bearded men, wearing silvered chain mail tunics with gold trimmings over bronzed undergarments, each form the two handles. They are attached by the ankles with gilt chains to the top of the main body and by the wrists with bronzed ropes to rosettes on the uprights of the vase's turquoise handles. The gilt bordered uprights, whose tops are level with the figure of Prometheus on the lid, have a bronzed rope running down their fronts and backs, and a silvered chain down their outer side, which terminates in a gilt winged silvered helmet. Beneath these, on each side, there are two bronzed medallions gilt chained together, which have relief figures of naked men on their knees, one with a dagger and shield, one with long hair. These are above three silver balls attached with a gilt chain which lie immediately above the bronzed pointed end of the gilt edged upright. A gilt band ends the main body; the turquoise area above this, forming the neck of the vase, appears to be part of the lid. The neck is double waisted and divided in two by a gilt ring with raised gilt rosette decoration. This is overhung by the domed turquoise top which has a wide gilt band along its rim with further raised gilding, and is surmounted by a recumbent almost naked Prometheus gilt chained to the lid, whose chest is about to be grazed by a large gilded eagle.

Object Name

Prometheus Vase

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Date Created



Approx: 110.5cm x 40cm

accession number


Place of creation



On Display

[G9] Manchester Art Gallery - Gallery 9
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© Manchester Art Gallery

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