The Warwick Vase

David Buttery considers the Warwick Vase, its origins, wanderings and greenhouse home.

The facts relating to the discovery, in 1771, of the fragments of the Warwick Vase by the Scottish artist, Gavin Hamilton, at the ruins of Hadrian's Villa near Tivoli, its restoration by order of Sir William Hamilton and its passing into the collection of his nephew, George Greville 2nd Earl of Warwick, are well-known. Viewed as it was as a survival from the classical world, the vase had a great influence on the evolution of English taste. Copies after it and derivations from it appeared throughout the nineteenth century in a variety of materials of which the finest are those in silver by Paul Storr. Two original size bronzes were also cast and may be seen at Cambridge and Windsor. If all of this is familiar, then what is less so, is the manner in which the vase was displayed at Warwick Castle, its home for almost two centuries.

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