copy of the Portland vase (vase)


This is a neo-classical copy of the Portland Vase, an ancient Roman vessel made c.1-25CE. It may represent the classical myth of the marriage of Peleus and Thetis. Now held in the British Museum, the original vase was rediscovered in the 16th century in a funerary monument known as the Monte del Grano, a few miles southeast of the old city wall of Rome. It has since become one of the most famous pieces of ancient Roman glass.

In 1783 it was brought from Italy to England and caused a sensation. Since that date is has inspired many copies, including the famous ceramic replicas made by Josiah Wedgewood. Throughout the 1800s, many glass makers also created replicas.

This one was made by F.Zach in c.1880, probably in Stourbridge, West Midlands. Zach’s exquisite replica was made in clear blue and cased glass, with wheel-carved cameo decoration. The clear sections of the body feature acid etched, fine scrollwork. The vase is an amphora type with shoulder handles. ‘Amphora’ refers to a form of classical vessel which included two-handles and a neck narrower than the body. Zach’s makers mark can be found underneath the base of the vase.

This object is on display at RAMM in the Courtyard.

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