Black Frame with Eight Blue Wedgwood Inserts



19th century
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General Description

The influence of neoclassicism on European and American architecture and decorative arts was quite popular between the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries. Inspired by archaeological discoveries in the Mediterranean and Near East, the Neoclassical style is characterized by balanced proportions, the use of forms and motifs drawn from ancient Greek and Roman architecture and sculpture, and an admiration for the cultural achievements of the classical world.

This frame, in the Reves' collection, embodies the Neoclassical style as applied in European decorative arts during the height of its popularity. Set in stark contrast on all four sides of the frame's dark surface are a mixture of eight pale blue and white jasperware plaques and medallions. Each piece, thought to be by the British pottery firm Josiah Wedgwood & Sons, depicts a scene from Classical mythology and seems to complement the overall symmetry of the frame.

Jennifer Bartsch-Allen, Digital Collections Content Coordinator, 2017.

Drawn from

  • Kevin Tucker, "Neoclassical Design" panel copy

  • Getty Vocabulary, AAT (jasperware: AAT: 300390925).

Web Resources

The Wedgwood Museum
Visit the Wedgwood Museum to learn more about Wedgwood ceramics

Dionysiac frieze, Villa of Mysteries
Learn more about an ancient Roman fresco in Pompeii

Josiah Wedgwood, The Genius
Learn more about Josiah Wedgwood

How to Make Wedgwood Pottery
Watch a master potter at the Wedgwood factory demonstrate how to make jasperware