Period: Late Nineteenth Century
Date: c.1895 Height: 6.5 inches
Diameter: 9.5 inches
A glorious piece of late nineteenth century metalwork is this bulbous fern pot, designed by Christopher Dresser, and made by Benham & Froud. It has a wonderful variegated sprouting rim, punched decoration on the shoulder and a series of bold ovoid medallions on the sides. The underside is clearly stamped with the orb and cross trademark Benham and Froud used from 1855 (when they took over the company from Richard and Edward Kepp), to mark the replacement orb and cross the Kepp brothers made for St Paul's cathedral in 1821. It weighed 7 tonnes and measured 23 feet high.
Dresser, always a believer in the triumph of the machine, of replication and progress, has never been thought a true representative of the arts and crafts movement; however, the following statement shows how like the ideals of the movement his thinking was: 'The man who can form a bowl or vase well is an artist, and so is the man who can make a chair or table... the converse of the facts is also true; for if a man be not an artist he cannot form an elegant bowl, nor make a beautiful chair'. Our sentiments exactly.