Designer / Maker
Designed by Richard Redgrave (1804-88)
Manufactured by Felix Summerly’s Art Manufactures
Height: 16.7 cm
English, circa 1850
The decanter is an example of the body of work designed by artists and sculptors for the short-lived Felix Summerly’s Art-Manufactures, set up in 1847 by Henry Cole (1808-82), using the pseudonym Felix Summerly. Through the firm, Cole set out to promote good design by the marriage of fine art and manufactures.
A patent protecting the design for the decanter, the first object created by Redgrave for Cole, was registered on 2 June 1847. In addition to the small decanter, there was a larger version (for example, Victoria and Albert Museum, accession number: 4503-1901), a two-handled vase (for example, Truth, Beauty and Design Victorian, Edwardian and Later Decorative Art, ex’n cat., London, 1986, no. 21) and a water jug (for example, De l’Impressionisme à l’Art nouveau Acquisitions du musée d’Orsay, ex’n cat., Paris, 1996, p. 84). This series of glass receptacles for water is, appropriately, decorated with bulrushes, responding to Cole’s exhortation that designers should ‘draw on nature for ‘suggestive’ or appropriate ornament.’ (Shirley Bury, ‘Richard Redgrave and Felix Summerly’s Art-Manufactures’ in Susan P. Casteras and Ronald Parkinson, eds, Richard Redgrave 1804-1888, ex’n cat., New Haven and London, 1988, p. 38).