An Early Victorian Papier-mâché Vase by Jennens & Bettridge, London c.1840-50

Origin: English
Period: Early Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1840-50
Height: 14”
Diameter: 7” (at extremities)

The papier-mâché vase of elegant baluster form with neo classical figural decoration to a sea green ground with black banding and gilt swagged highlights, the central band in a chocolate brown with the beautiful hand-painted figures in ivory, the whole being a very scarce model by Jennens & Bettridge and surviving from the early Victorian period.

In comparatively good overall condition, there is patchy wear and one area of peel to the lower section and one chip to the rim, as photographed. There are no restorations, and it remains in very original order. The gilt highlights have expected wear. The base is stamped with maker's name. We have refrained from cleaning it.

We cannot find another comparable example of this vase having been sold whatsoever, with vases by the company almost always designed with floral sprays and motifs or birds, making this one particularly scarce, it being influenced somewhat by the ancient bell krater or attic vases.

Jennens and Bettridge aka Aaron Jennens and T.H. Bettridge (fl. 1815-1864) are the name most people associate with this period and were highly regarded for producing quality papier mâché wares. The Birmingham company had shops in New York as well as London; producing some of the finest papier mâché items of all time and many are now prized collector’s items or museum pieces today.

Papier-mâché itself became an industry in England in 1772 when Henry Clay of Birmingham took out a patent for its making. The process for making papier-mâché furniture was achieved either by pasting multiple layers of paper over shaped cores, or by pressing paper pulp between dies or moulds to form a variety of shapes.

“Among the many inventions of modern times for diffusing the luxuries, and even the conveniences of life, there are few which have greater claims to our admiration than papier-mâché. Whether it meets the eye in the shape of furniture, or in articles of domestic utility, its beauty and agreeableness are equally striking and effective. Nor is it less so when applied to ornamental purposes” - The World In Its Workshops, by James Ward, 1851.

A rare gem in beautifully untouched condition.