Tuesday, August 7, 2018
The Portland Vase (British Museum Objects in Focus) Paperback4 by Susan Walker (British Museum Pressr)
For thousands of years an enigmatic and astonishingly beautiful piece of Roman art has captivated those who have come in contact with it.Made before the birth of Christ, the Portland Vase, as it is called, is renowned for both its beauty and its mystery.
In a new series of books that focus on iconic objects housed in the British Museum, this guide addresses the enigmatic Portland Vase. This cameo glass vessel, with its engraved scenes of love and marriage, most probably made during the reign of Augustus, is a controversial piece with little concensus on its origins, date, how it was made, its purpose, the nature of the scenes depicted and the circumstances of its discovery. All this is covered in this book which also includes lots of detailed colour photographs of the vase.
The Portland Vase (British Museum Objects in Focus) takes us on a vivid journey across Europe and through the centuries, as this delicate piece of glass, less than ten inches in height, passes through the hands of a stunning cast of characters, including the first Roman emperor, Augustus; a notorious tomb raider; a reckless cardinal; a princess with a nasty gambling habit; the ceramics genius Josiah Wedgwood; the secretive Duchess of Portland; and a host of politicians, dilettantes, and scam artists.
Rich with passion, inspiration, jealousy, and endless speculation, the story of the Portland Vase spans more than two thousand years and remains one of the art world's greatest enigmas.