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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

 
 
 
JOHN BENNETT
English, 1840 - 1907 (active America)
"White Dogwood" Vase
1882
Earthenware

12 x 7 ¼ x 7 ¼ inches

 
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum purchase with funds provided by the Museum Guild in honor of its thirtieth anniversary, and by the Trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in appreciation of thirty years of service by the Guild

Arts of Europe
 
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The beautiful floral decoration on this 19th-century vase was painted in thin, rich colors before being coated with a clear glaze. The result is as luminous as a watercolor under the shine of the glaze.

The work of English potter John Bennett was a highlight of the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The pieces shown there were such a triumph that by 1877 he had left England and set up his own shop in New York City. Bennett's pots bloom with apple blossoms, magnolias, and lush dogwood flowers. Bennett had developed a technique in which he painted the flowers in first, then brushed on the surrounding color so that the backgrounds were not smooth and shaded, but often rather painterly with visible brushstrokes. Bennett was also a brilliant colorist who preserved his cadmium yellows, violets, and Persian reds under glazes that one commentator found “as beautiful as a soap-bubble in the air.” Bennett's work shows the influence of Orientalist sources as well as the Arts and Crafts floral patterns of his English contemporary William Morris.