Pair of 18th century Neoclassical jasperware vases by William Adams

By Adams Pottery (English, est. 1657)


Painstakingly crafted by a member of the renowned Adams Pottery family, the vases portray scenes from classical mythology, typical of the Neoclassical style.


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Of a typical Neoclassical design, this exquisite pair of vases was made by the renowned William Adams (1745-1805) out of jasperware and is decorated in typical Neoclassical motifs.

The vases and stands are made from jasper, a type of unglazed stoneware first introduced by the famous English potter, Josiah Wedgewood (1730-1795) in 1775. White in its natural state, the jasper has been stained in dark blue, creating an exceptional base for the crisp white, three-dimensional decoration.

Both vases are decorated in a very similar manner, their necks elegantly applied with a repetitive leaf pattern, one which also adorns the lower part of the vase bodies and the bases. Below is a symmetrical band formed from numerous circles. The friezes portray scenes from classical mythology. For example, Apollo, the Greek god of the sun and music as well as Cupid, the symbol of love and attraction are shown. The circumference of the vases is decorated with several scenes, which also include charming putti and foliage, such as laurel leaves typical of classical Greece. Between the body and the base is neatly applied band of delicate balls.

Adding to the magnificence of the pieces are the tall plinth bases on which they stand. Similarly, to the vases, they are decorated with further classical figures, representing the four seasons. Each panel of the bases is framed by geometrical borders.

Each vase is stamped with the ‘ADAMS’ mark signifying their important provenance and celebrating their maker.

William Adams of Greengate, Tunstall was a celebrated potter and the favourite pupil of Josiah Wedgewood as well as his friend and confidant. In 1789 he established his own pottery where he produced high-quality pieces in jasper, basalt, Queensware and ‘painted china glaze ware’. Adams was a member of the Adams family of potters who had established potteries in Staffordshire since the 17th century.  

The vases are an outstanding representation of the high skill of their maker and mementoes of the rich and long Adams family tradition. They showcase their maker’s ingenuity and the results of 18th century technological advancements.  


Artist / Maker
By Adams Pottery (English, est. 1657)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
c. 1780
18th Century and Earlier
Blue, White


27 cm / 10.6 inches
10 cm / 3.9 inches


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