Rhinoceros Vase, Rockingham, Swinton

Contributed by Clifton Park Museum Rotherham

Rhinoceros Vase from the Rockingham Factory, Swinton, Nr Rotherham. © Rotherham Museums, Galleries & Heritage Service

At 1.2m high and over 50 Kg it was claimed to be the largest item of porcelain fired in one piece anywhere in England.The Rhinoceros Vase was made in 1826 at the Rockingham Works near Swinton, four miles north of Rotherham. The ceramics industry was very important in South Yorkshire because the geology of the landscape, with its good clay deposits close to waterways, made production easy. So-called because of the stylised gilded porcelain rhinoceros on the vase, the Rhinoceros Vase is 1.2m high and weighs over 50kg. It was claimed to be the largest item of porcelain fired in one piece anywhere in England, and was made to demonstrate the manufacturing and artistic skills of the potters at the factory. The vase is richly decorated with painted enamel panels showing scenes from the story of Don Quixote and botanical specimens, with oak leaves and acorns applied with burnished and chased gilding. Rockingham pottery is now highly collectable all over the world, especially in the USA.

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