After Piranesi I is one of the artworks created in response to the Waddesdon Manor collection. The variety of artworks amassed by Ferdinand de Rothschild is one of the reasons that a tour of the house is so engrossing, there is something for almost everyone. The objects range from the subtle through to the outrageous.
Victorian design is acknowledged as having indulged in an excess of ornamentation. It is known for its interpretation and eclectic revival of historic styles mixed with the introduction of Middle Eastern and Asian influences. This Victorian enthusiasm is evident throughout Waddesdon, seen in objects such as furniture, fittings, and interior decoration.
In addition to the actual artworks there is a fascinating collection of prints and drawings, including some wonderful engravings and drawings of fantastical vases and jugs by Jacques-François-Joseph Saly, a French sculptor who was active in the middle years of the 18th century. They feature animated figures of tritons, lions and cupids, all energetically captured in his prints. Also in the collection are references to Giovanni Battista Piranesi, an 18th century Italian artist and sculptor. I first came across Piranesi when creating the Innovo Vase, an interpretation of the Stowe Vase for Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It appears that Piranesi (alongside producing detailed architectural etchings) was skilful at ‘restoring’ ancient sculptures and monuments; often reconstructing them through the amalgamation of components from different artefacts.
In the spirit of Piranesi, this piece brings together popular representations of figures and objects from both history and contemporary culture, including: Albert Einstein, Mickey Mouse, Charles Darwin, an astronaut, Aphrodite, the Discobolus of Myron, Cupid, and Nefertiti. These are dramatically woven together to form a chaotic and dynamic vase construction.
After Piranesi I was created using a combination of 21st century technology and traditional craftsmanship. 3D scans of museum artworks combined with 20th century icons were used as the starting point, painstakingly remodelled in Rhino 3D software. The final design was 3D printed and hand finished.
Michael Eden 2018