Warwick Vase

In our upcoming Silver & Plated Ware auction, we will sell an Edwardian copy of the widely revered Warwick Vase, cast in glowing silver.  We have had the pleasure of selling a few Warwick Vase reproductions in the past. We sold a modern example for £5,000 and another Edwardian copy for an impressive £11,000.

The original Warwick Vase

The original Warwick Vase is an ancient Roman marble vase. It was first owned by the emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD). Hadrian was known as one of the five good emperors, recognised for their careful governance and kind nature. Hadrian was of course also known for his impressive building projects. His most notable was Hadrian’s Wall – but also Hadrian’s Villa, which is where the Warwick Vase was discovered. It was one of many beautiful sculptures that decorated his gardens at the palatial villa.

The vase features Dionysian imagery, evoking the idea of decadence, the pleasure of good food and wine. In the centre, we see Bacchanalian heads, one young and clean-shaven, the other bearded. Both are examples of classical depictions of the god Dionysus. Interwoven into the handles of the vase are delicately carved vines with fruit, and acanthus leaves. Since its discovery, it has contributed greatly to the Neo-Classical school of decorative arts in the UK. Over the centuries, many artists and creatives have taken inspiration from its careful evocation of indulgence.

Excavation and Restoration

In 1771 Gavin Hamilton discovered the vase. He found it fragmented in a marshy pond towards the lower parts of Hadrian’s extensive grounds. Hamilton brought it back to England where he commissioned James Byres to restore it. Hamilton then sold the vase to another Hamilton – Sir William Hamilton. Sir William attempted to sell it to the British Museum, but when they rejected it. He instead gave it to his nephew, George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick. Greville placed it in the grounds of Warwick Castle. Here he built a large gothic greenhouse to protect it from the English weather. This, of course, is where the vase gained its name.

It was eventually sold in 1978 to the Met. However, the vase was declared an object of national importance and the export license was delayed. As it was still not of enough archaeological importance for the British Museum, it was instead moved to the Burrell Collection in Glasgow.

Warwick Case Silver Reproduction at Auction

An Edwardian silver copy of The Warwick Vase

Our example dates from 1901, and it is a testament to the enduring nature of the neo-classical style and its ubiquitous influence on the decorative arts. For any silver lover, this piece would be an impressive addition to a collection.

Hallmarked Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co Ltd., London 1901. Height approx. 8.5″ (21.6cm), weight 59.69 ozt (1856.7 grams).

Lot 86 – Estimate:  £1,500  –  £2,500

Silver & Plated Ware Auction

Wednesday 24th May 2023 10 am

Viewing Times in Birmingham

Tuesday 23rd May 10:00-16:00

Wednesday 24th May 8:30-10:00

Virtual viewings are available by request. Virtual viewings are the ultimate personal shopping experience. Using Zoom, you can ask us whatever you need to know in order to buy with confidence. Find out more here.

Previously sold at auction

modern silver twin handled cup modelled on the Warwick Vase

A modern silver twin-handled cup modelled on the Warwick Vase.

Sold for £5,742.00 on 05/10/2020.

Hallmarked E & J, London 2004. Height 11.25″ (28.5cm), approximate weight 232.61 ozt (7235 grams).

An Edwardian silver Warwick vase by Edward Barnard & Sons.

Sold for £11,356.40 on 14/03/2016.

Hallmarked Edward Barnard & Sons Ltd, London 1907, numbered 183. Height measuring 10 3/4 inches (27.5 cm), weight 115 ozt (3588 grams).

Edwardian silver Warwick vase by Edward Barnard Sons

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Our valuations are free, with no obligation to sell with us. Our experts will value your item with an estimate, so you can find out what it could achieve at auction.

The process is simple. You can fill in a form online or book an appointment to visit either of our offices in Birmingham or London. Virtual valuation appointments are also available.

Cordelia Porter | BA (Hons), MRes


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