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Biscuitware vase or urn decorated with paper flowers, Wedgwood, early nineteenth century
Unglazed earthenware with applied paper decoration
Museum number: BL6
This white biscuitware vase or urn is of a type sold for home decoration by ladies and in this case is garlanded with applied paper flowers, perhaps the work of Eliza Soane. The urn echoes the shape of an ancient cinerary urn and was placed by John Soane, at the end of his life, on an altar-like table in the 'Oratory' next to his bedroom, beneath a stained glass window depicting the celebrated hermit Saint Arsenius. Soane referrred to himself as a 'solitary hermit' after the death of Eliza and, some years later, created an imaginary alter ego, 'Padre Giovanni' for his basement Monk's Parlour. The association of this urn with a depiction of a solitary hermit may be an extension of this metaphor.
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