W E S T B U R Y

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

PETER SCHEEMAKERS (1691-1781)

THE ALEXANDER VASE

 

A very rare and exquisitely proportioned marble vase executed around 1740. 

 

White marble:  33 cm high.

Signed:   P. Scheemakers: Ft

Provenance:  Michael Alexander

 

The outstanding beauty of this vase is derived from a combination of its harmonic proportions and its allusion to classical sources.  The four carved faces are redolent of those applied to the terminal volutes of ancient Greek vases (cf. volute-kraters).  The coiled bird heads are also taken from Greek sources.  Scheemakers has masterfully combined the magnificence of classical Greek and Roman ideals with his own exemplary design.

Peter Scheemakers was one of the most respected sculptors of the eighteenth century.  Most of his life was spent working in London, but, before the height of his fame, he was greatly influenced by two years of study in Rome, where he absorbed the pre-eminence of the classical style.  By 1740 he was well-known for his Shakespeare and other busts and monuments erected in Westminster Abbey. 

To the best of our knowledge and belief this vase is the only authentic work by Peter Scheemakers that is available anywhere in the world.  We are grateful to Dr.Ingrid Roscoe and the Victoria and Albert Museum for help with authentication.

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