The Origin of Painting: an important Thomas Webb and Sons cameo vase by George Woodall, circa 1887
Lot 249
The Origin of Painting: an important Thomas Webb and Sons cameo vase by George Woodall, circa 1887
Sold for £121,845 (US$ 163,702) inc. premium

Lot Details
The Origin of Painting: an important Thomas Webb and Sons cameo vase by George Woodall, circa 1887 The Origin of Painting: an important Thomas Webb and Sons cameo vase by George Woodall, circa 1887 The Origin of Painting: an important Thomas Webb and Sons cameo vase by George Woodall, circa 1887
The Origin of Painting: an important Thomas Webb and Sons cameo vase by George Woodall, circa 1887
In the form of a baluster jar or ginger jar, overlaid in opalescent white and carved through to the brown glass beneath, the figure subject representing the mythical story of Fielea and Ariston, Cupid encouraging the maiden to sketch the outline of the shadow cast on the wall so she would have a permanent reminder of her Corinthian lover's youthful beauty, the light provided by a torch set in a hanging lamp suspended from the loop and sprig border around the shoulder of the jar, a band of deeply-cut stiff leaves at the base, the reverse with a dramatic foliate scroll motif terminating in the head of a panther, signed G Woodall, 24.5cm high, etched mark Thomas Webb & Sons Gem Cameo

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Commissioned by Mr Nett, 1887
    With Ray and Lee Grover, 1979
    Edwin and Mary Triestman Collection
    Sold by Sotheby's New York 14 June 2006, lot 361
    A British Private Collection

    The story of the Maid of Corinth inspired many artists and a number of versions of the subject have been said incorrectly to be the inspiration for George Woodall's masterpiece. The precise source is the painting by Giovanni Battista Cipriani (1727-1785), most likely via a print by Louis Charles Ruotte (see fig.1).

    Christopher Woodall Perry notes that George Woodall created his first Origin of Painting vase in 1887 and it sold immediately, prompting wealthy clients to order further copies. The present vase is believed to have been commissioned by a Mr Nett. In total, three further vases and three plaques are known to have been produced. The first version would appear to be the circular plaque from the Rakow Collection, now in the Corning Museum of Glass (no.89.2.15) which is signed G Woodall 1884.

    The original vase completed in 1887 (W1797) was photographed by George Woodall and his image showing it with a domed cover is reproduced by Perry, p.31 (bottom left). Perry notes that this was in the Frambers Collection. None of the subsequent versions of the vase have been recorded with corresponding covers and it is likely no covers were ever created for these pieces. The present vase was in the Triestman collection and was purchased by the present owner at the sale of their collection at Sotheby's in New York. Another, signed and dated 1887, was in the Karin and Dr Ernest H. Rieger Collection and was sold by Woody's Auctions in Wichita, 29 May 2014. A different shape of vase bearing this subject was retained by George Woodall himself and remains in the Woodall family. This has been on loan to Broadfield House Museum of Glass and is illustrated by Perry, p.64.

    A further plaque of The Origin of Painting (GW145) was finished in September 1910, and a surviving photograph of the piece is illustrated by Perry, p.113 (centre left). This plaque was destroyed in the fire at the Brussels exhibition in that year and another was created financed by the insurance money. This copy, (GW145b) was in the Webbs Museum and is now in Texas A & M University Collection. Unsigned and unmarked, it is believed George Woodall was still working on this piece in 1920, long after he had retired (see Charles Hajdamach, 20th Century British Glass (2009), p0.68-71 and pl.136.
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