Kate Malone: Inspired by Waddesdon
Kate Malone, one of Britain’s most highly regarded ceramic artists, created over 50 ceramic pieces in response to the gardens, archives, collections and people at Waddesdon Manor, the Waddesdon Estate and the Pavilion at Eythrope.
This new work was displayed in the exhibition ‘Kate Malone: Inspired by Waddesdon’ at the Coach House in 2016, in collaboration with Adrian Sassoon, London. The Rothschild Foundation acquired the ‘Baron Ferdinand Lidded Vase’ and the ‘Miss Alice Lidded Vase’ because they represent the two founding figures of Waddesdon Manor.
‘My intent is that the ‘portrait’ pots of Baron Ferdinand and Miss Alice display some elements of their personal interests and capture the sense of their character and spirit. I could not meet them but feel a connection with them, across time, through the Waddesdon that was created,’ – Kate Malone, 2016.
The vase dedicated to Baron Ferdinand embodies his physique and interests while expressing them in the visual language of Waddesdon, his creation. The rich pruple glaze is both fashionable for a 19th-century gentleman and reflects his love of copper beech trees. His tapered hat reiterates the shape of the Manor’s roof towers, while the carved vermiculated (wormlike) pattern is taken from architectural details in the stonework of the façade. The handles in the form of floating cubes refer to Ferdinand’s collection of gold boxes while the bird finial references both his Aviary of tropical birds and the three-dimensional floral displays in the gardens.
The Miss Alice vase is inspired by Baron Ferdinand’s youngest sister, who came to live with him following the death of his wife and who inherited Waddesdon. It features the diamond-shaped trellis-work grown in ivy around the base of the Manor’s turrets, which is also a popular pattern on some of the 18th-century French furniture and furnishings in the collection. The hundreds of porcelain daisies on the vase and the pumpkin finial reflect Miss Alice’s interest in gardening and her pride in the Eythrope potager, her private garden at her own house, close by on the adjoining estate.
Kate Malone’s exhibition film will be shown at ‘Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival’ on 3 May at Picturehouse Central. The festival highlights the extraordinary talent and technique of the making and moving image communities.
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By Rachel Jacobs, curator.