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Small urn vase in Blue-John, silver and porphyry
Small urn vase in Blue-John, silver and porphyry - Decorative Objects Style Louis XVI Small urn vase in Blue-John, silver and porphyry - Small urn vase in Blue-John, silver and porphyry - Louis XVI Antiquités - Small urn vase in Blue-John, silver and porphyry
Ref : 112025
4 800 €
Period :
19th century
Artist :
Matthew Boulton
Provenance :
Medium :
Porphyry, blue john and silver
Dimensions :
H. 4.33 inch | Ø 1.77 inch
Decorative Objects  - Small urn vase in Blue-John, silver and porphyry 19th century - Small urn vase in Blue-John, silver and porphyry Louis XVI - Small urn vase in Blue-John, silver and porphyry Antiquités - Small urn vase in Blue-John, silver and porphyry
Galerie Gilles Linossier

Furniture and Art object of the 18th century

+33 (0)1 53 29 00 18
Small urn vase in Blue-John, silver and porphyry

Dimensions: H 11 cm x D 4.5 cm

Very beautiful and small urn vase in amethyst fluorite also called “Blue-John” or “Fluorspar”.

Pedestals, tops and handles in very finely chiseled silver. The handles represent a winding of acanthus leaves, running along the urn. The summit is significant of a pine cone resting on a leafy terrace. The pedestal is connected to the handles by chiseled acanthus leaves and rests on a garland of acanthus leaves also in chiseled silver.

This vase is positioned on a double square base, one in silver, the more imposing in porphyry, which further underlines the attribution to Matthew Boulton.
The beautiful color of this blue-john varies with a majority of yellow-ocher tone to a minority of purple tone. We can still notice crystalline effects in this very beautiful semi-precious stone.

Very beautiful work from the beginning of the 19th century attributed to Matthew Bolton due to the quality of the stone enhancing the meticulous and splendid work of the silver as well as the use of porphyry.

Restoration of use, small repairs and chips


Son of a craftsman making small metal objects, Matthew Boulton took over his father's business in 1759. In 1762, he joined forces with John Fothergill and built a larger factory in Soho, north of Birmingham, the center of industry and revolutionary inventions nicknamed “the workshop of the world”. He diversified his techniques and developed the production of silver dishes, decorative objects and mercury gilding. He subsequently decided to modernize his business and began to once again vary his creations. Then comes the creation of coins and vases in earthenware and gilded bronze.

Their work, very meticulously carried out, is extremely renowned among the European aristocracy. Empress Catherine II of Russia acquired a large and diverse number of their works as did Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, who was seduced by several vases. Others appreciated the beauty of this artist, such as the Dukes of Coventry, Montague and Malborough, who were at that time the three greatest art collectors in Great Britain.
To compete with French production of the time, whose vases were particularly fashionable, he was inspired by antique objects and shapes. The production on earthenware was unfortunately short-lived given the fragility of the earthenware which could not support the gilded bronze. He then decided to replace the earthenware with marble, Blue-John or porphyry whose bright purple color brings out the beauty of the mercury-gilded bronze.

In 2012 and 2013 Christie's auction house in London sold several Boulton lots.
Thus, a pair of pots pourri (in gilded bronze and white marble) were sold for the sum of 160,160 euros
A pair of incense burners (in metal and white marble) were sold for 89,370 euros.
and a pair of blue-john candelabra attributed to Boulton sold for 147,840

The rarity of items in Blue-John:
The history of Blue John vases from the 18th and 19th centuries is a most fascinating subject.
Although fluorite is a fairly common material and mined all over the world, it is important to differentiate the Blue-John variety which only comes from one deposit, near Castleton, Derbyshire, England.
It was Matthew Boulton, who, from 1767, relaunched the manufacture of Blue-John objects.

In order to compete with particularly appreciated French art and realizing that earthenware was too fragile, he turned to a semi-precious stone “spar”.
Blue-John is the only variety of fluorite to have qualities important enough to assign it to the category of precious gems. Its rarity and the colors it presents make it a very sought-after stone still today. Due to the fragility of the gem, the few objects that have reached us are therefore prized by the greatest collectors.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Matthew Boulton positioned himself as the largest buyer of Blue-John (around 14 tonnes) and made objects such as urns, vases, candlesticks, candelabras and clocks, in Blue-John and “ormolu”.

This rare and prestigious stone attracts the attention of Royalty and nobility. He thus executed large orders for England, but also for France and Russia. It is through his production (and the pieces of Robert Adam) that the fashion and prestige of Blue-John was launched.
The magnificent complexity of the bands of blue, purple and yellow colors romantically shaped its name. The French, who were very fond of these objects, distinguished them by their “blue-yellow” colors which, in a more English accent, meant “blue-john”

Blue-John vases from this period are famous for their elegance and complexity. The carefully cut and polished stone reveals incredibly beautiful natural patterns, adding a unique dimension to each piece.

Blue John has amazed more than one art. In addition to its artistic value specific to the condition of a semi-precious stone, it inspires poetic reflections, thus symbolizing itself in poetry as a rare, ephemeral beauty with a unique character, defining the particularity of each individual as it distinguishes each Blue-John Vase; The beauty of nature, the elegance of human craftsmanship and the individuality of each stone creating unique and captivating designs on each vase.

These vases are not only decorative objects but also testify to the grandeur of Victorian England and the skill of the craftsmen of the time in shaping this fragile stone.

The colors seem to dance and come to life within each room. The brilliance of each color is expressed in silence by the sparkle of a perfect and ephemeral beauty, captured in time and delicately sculpted by masters. A treasure with purple nuances that harmonizes perfectly with the golden richness of the finely chiseled bronze.

Today, only the Blue-John mine in Treak Cliff, England, is still in operation. Old pieces are still highly sought after
Prestige and quality of the stone make these objects rare museum and collector's items.

Examples of pieces sold:

Beautiful pieces have thus been sold to collectors as in 2004 in Paris, estimated for 75,000 euros and sold for 90,249 euros for a pair of felines.

More recently in 2020 and 2021, sold in Paris, respectively for 14,720 euros, a pair of Blue-John vases attributed to Matthew Boulton, height 19 cm
and 14,168 euros for a single vase, in Blue-John, height 45.5 cm

Galerie Gilles Linossier


Bowl & Cassolettes Louis XVI