The Rothschild Foundation Purchase ‘A Pair of Caillouté Vases’ by Michael Eden for Waddesdon Manner
We are delighted to announce that Waddesdon Manner have purchased A Pair of Caillouté Vases by Michael Eden.
The Pair of Caillouté Vases are based on pieces in the Waddesdon collection made by the Sèvres manufactory in the late 18th century. I was particularly attracted to one of these vases that is decorated with a surface pattern known as caillouté (pebbled). Apparently, this pattern was inspired by early microscopy imagery of cell structures.
During the period when these and other extraordinary ceramic vases were made, there was a strong interest in science and natural history, which was sometimes reflected in surface decoration of decorative objects. The bringing together of art and science in a decorative object is unusual now, but at the time when these vases were made there was much less separation between branches of learning. Groups of learned people such as the Lunar Society would explore wide-ranging interests and treated the arts, humanities and sciences as compatible equals, a view that we would do well to return to. In order to reflect on this, I created a 3-dimensional caillouté structure, which surrounds an abstracted interpretation of the central cartouche illustration.
The Pair of Caillouté Vases were only made possible by the use of new technology, in particular 3D printing, where a drawing is created using 3D software and used to fuse together extremely fine layers of material, in this particular case, nylon. Since earliest times, craft has evolved, with innovation and the development of new tools enabling makers to create objects and artworks that was previously impossible or extremely difficult. This is certainly the case with 3D printing, as it allows me to produce objects that I could not previously create on the potter’s wheel. However, I firmly believe that all tools have their place and 3D printing does not replace them. As artists and makers, we simply have some new tools to choose from and can develop the craft skills required to fully exploit them.