Here is a masterful interpretation of the ancient Greek orange/black decorative style, very often seen on pottery vases from early Greek civilization. One lady is seen holding a basket and a pottery bowl, and the other is dancing with a hoop. You’ll notice that I’m saying “Greek,” not “Etruscan.” In England during this time, this style was confusingly known as “Etruscan” (referring to an Italian people located north of Rome). Etruscan or not—and it is not—Derby adapted this ancient Greek style after it had been rediscovered during excavations at Herculaneum (in Italy, hence the confusion, but Herculaneum was south of Rome, close to Naples). In any event, the set echoes several themes from Greek art and literature. The stance that the Italians (but not the Greeks, who came up with the stance but didn’t speak Italian) call "contrapposto" is clear in the design—the figure stands with her weight on one leg while the other leg is relaxed. This is a technique mastered by the early Greek (particularly Athenian) sculptors, who were definitely not Etruscans. (Also confusingly, Derby’s term for the teawares that everybody else called “London shape” was “Greek shape.” Are you following all this?) The execution of this Derby plate pattern 326 is traditionally attributed to John Brewer, and he is probably the artist who painted the scenes on this set. The saucer is five and five-eighths inches across. You’ll see the obvious wear, but I think the rarity of this pattern will recommend it. The gilt line around the base of the cup is mostly gone. Other than wear to the surface there is no damage.
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