Thomas Hope, Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807, plates V and XII.
T.D. Ford, Derbyshire Blue John, Ashbourne, 2000, p. 86. For examples of Shores Work.
T.D. Ford, ‘The Largest Blue John Vases ever made’, Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical Society, vol. 11, no. 5, Summer, 1992
William Adam, Gem of the Peak, 3rd edition, 1843 and 4th edition,1848
Trevor D. Ford, 'Blue John Fluorspar', Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geographical Society, vol. 30, part I, no. 4, 15 September 1955, p. 56
A Particularly large Regency campana Urn in blue John, standing on a black ashford marble plinth base
Blue John (also known as Derbyshire Spar) is a semi-precious gemstone with distinctive bands of purple, blue and gold. It is extremely rare and is found only in the Blue John Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern at Castleton in Derbyshire, UK. It was first discovered by the Romans over two thousand years ago.
It should be noted that this piece is in exceeptional condition, with no breaks or major repairs.
To find any Blue John piece in this condittion is remarkable, and a great survival story.
During the late 18th Century and early Regency period, Blue John was in high demand and extremely fashionable and was shaped to create a variety of classical ornamental items including objects such as campana urns.
Handling and creating objects from blue john required great skill, and only a few people had the equipment and infrastructure to assemble these pieces, creating a large hollow for example was technically extremely difficult.
James Shore of Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, was one known maker and designer who created a number of superb pieces. They were constructed with a superb sense of proportion, and used the distinctive bull beef veins. His work was also finished and assembled in a very similar fashion to the present urn.
Thomas Hope & Matthew Boulton were two other designers and bussinessmen that saw the stunning beauty in this mineral and ommissioned other magnificent pieces.