A rare and large, 19th century, carved sandstone gothic grotto urn, beautifully weathered and lichen encrusted, with a border of grotesque animal faces around the top of the bowl and base.
English circa 1850 Staffordshire
Grotto; a small cave or group of caves, especially an artificial one in a park or garden, usually with a source of water.
The fashion of the wealthy for building grottoes, didn't arrive in Britain until the seventeenth century. Originally being constructed indoors, but by the late 18th century moving outside, becoming a focal point of the neoclassical landscaped garden, with clean lines and classical structure. Going into the 19th century, with the Victorian fascination for natural history, grottoes followed fashion, becoming more rustic, with the use of tufa rock and Pulhamite ( an artificial stone made by the Pulham terracotta company ) natural and dark, using specimen mosses and ferns. This urn, being carved with grotesque animal faces would have been placed inside the entrance of one of these grottoes and planted out.
This urn was in the same grotto as the vermiculated urn listed separately.
Condition; a few nibbles to the extremities.
H 38 1/2" x W 30" x D 30'
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