Saturday, 30 May 2015

Painters of porcelain - John Singer Sargent

It is a Victorian portrait painter who has given us one of the most striking images of oriental porcelain,  John Singer Sargent in his portrait of the four young daughters of Edward Boit.  They are seen in the family home in Paris, with two giant Japanese porcelain vases from Arita.


The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit    John Singer Sargent, 1882
© Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Treasured but familiar - Detail of above 

Here you can see some of the design on the vases, made in Arita for export to Europe in the nineteenth century, so quite modern pieces but very fashionable at the time.  The wealthy Boit family regularly travelled between their homes in Boston and Paris, taking their favourite furnishings with them, particularly this pair of vases.

Rarely enough for ceramics shown in paintings, the two vases have survived, despite crossing the Atlantic sixteen times.  The four daughters gave their portrait to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in memory of their father, Edward Darley Boit, and the next generation later gave the famous vases to the Museum to stand alongside Sargent's evocative painting.

© Boston Museum of Fine Arts 

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