Large Blanchard Terracotta Snake Handled Centrepiece Urn
A very rare, and truly beautiful mid 19th century large scale terracotta centrepiece urn by Mark Henry Blanchard. With wonderful entwined snake handles, decorated with figs and snakes. In very good condition, small nibbles and chips as you would expect, restoration to one handle.
Mark Henry Blanchard was born at Portsea, Hampshire and christened on 30 August 1817. He was apprenticed at the Coade Factory in Lambeth in the firm's declining years, probably when it was managed by Thomas John Croggon between c.1835-37, or after it had been let to Thomas Routledge and John Danforth Greenwood 1837-c.1840. Blanchard started his own business in Blackfriars Road, Lambeth about 1840 (probably working initially in plaster) and then appears to have acquired some of the Coade Factory's moulds when Routledge and Greenwood consigned them at auction in 1843.
The firm gradually established itself as a leading manufacturer of terracotta, its wares included vases, statuary, busts as well as undertaking larger scale commissions for architectural details and ornaments. Blanchard won a number of prizes at the Great Exhibition in 1851 and his stand encouraged John Marriott Blashfield to set up a competing business. The Blanchard firm's most important commissions included the contract to supply many of the architectural ornaments for the Victoria and Albert Museum and the mouldings and 'Months' panels (modelled by Rowland Morris) for the Wedgwood Institute, Burslem.