Exremely Large Derby Campana urn, fruit panels by Thomas Steel, c. 1815
Extremely Large Derby Campana urn, well painted to either side by Thomas Steel with still life panels of fruit on stone tables, including melons, peaches, plums, grapes & strawberries, the framing bands of gilt burnished with neoclassic devices and birds, the ground elaborately filled with scrolling neoclassical gilt motifs, the satyr mask handles thickly gilt.
Unmarked, circa 1815
47cm high , 38cm wide
Small repairs including crack to one side, one handle at join, the sockle with unusual hand-wrought brass fitting, probably contemporary to ensure the heavy upper portion is stable on the small mounting point of the base.
These large vases are scarce products from Derby, with each one being a considerable investment in time & materials. Only the best artists were used, and Thomas Steele was certainly qualified.
He was born in 1772 and worked at Derby from around 1815, moving to Rockingham in the late 1820s and returning to Staffordshire where is name his mentioned in the Minton Wages Book of 17 March 1832.
These panels by him are classic examples of his best work, often using a stone table to display his compositions. His technique involves fine stippling, and a curious ‘wiping out’ method which involves using a fingertip to make a soft highlight by showing white porcelain through. His works literally have his fingerprint on them!