Vase display at V&A

The Victoria and Albert Museum is to hold an exhibition that will appeal to devotees of antique garniture, sets of vases unified by their design and specific context.

A five-piece set of beakers
A five-piece set of beakers, Arita, Japan, c. 1700-20, at Dunham Massey, Cheshire.©NTImages/Robert Morris

In partnership with the National Trust, the exhibition will explore the history of garniture, from their earliest manifestations in the 1650s when they were assembled from several pairs of Chinese blue and white beakers and vases flanking a central covered jar.

These were copied at Delft and Nevers in tin-glazed earthenware from 1660 with matching decoration and in England in silver after Chinese shapes. Sets of up to eleven pieces were produced and displayed above cupboards and chimney mantels.

In China and Japan matched sets of jars and beakers were then produced specifically for the West frequently in sets of five from the late 1680s. Chinese-style beakers and jars dominated interiors into the 1750s, when discoveries of antique vases in Pompeii and Herculaneum introduced a new repertoire of shapes for matched sets of European vases.

Since the 1680s, many of these sets are identified by their French name, garniture de cheminée. There are sixteen garnitures in the display. A small publication accompanies the display.

Garnitures : Vase Sets from National Trust Houses, runs from 10th October 2016 to 30th April 2017 at the VAM.


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