VESSELS WITH WINGED HANDLES

‘Gale Force‘, Marshall Colman

Someone compared my vessels with winged handles to Colin Pearson’s ceramics. Colin made wonderful explorations of vessels with wings. Some are in the V&A and he won the Faenza Prize with others.  But this motif was around long before him and it’s not hundreds but thousands of years old.

Colin Pearson, 1994.

The Wallace Collection has some 16th-century drug jars from Deruta. They were functional vessels for apothecaries but they gave potters freedom to decorate and permitted flights of fancy like winged handles. The handles aren’t functional of course but they offer a surface for painting and sgrafitto.

Deruta, c.1500

The most impressive example is The Gazelle Vase in the Alhambra. It was made with two handles but it’s now defined by being broken. We wouldn’t want the handle to be repaired. The 19th-century reconstructions look too neat. They lack its ruined grandeur. Sometimes we prefer assymetry and we like faces that aren’t too regular: perfectly symmetrical faces are uncanny.

The Gazelle Vase, c.1375.

When I make pots with winged handles I make sure the handles don’t match, in a nod to The Gazelle Vase.

There’s a pot from Erimi in Cyprus with flattened handles in the Museum in Nicosia, the oldest example I’ve seen, from between 3500 and 2800 BCE. Somewhat older than Colin Pearson and me.

Vessel from Erimi, Cyprus, 3500 – 2800 BCE.

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