Hamilton Art Gallery
Guardians of the Grotto
porcelain, cast, constructed and hand painted
Hamilton Art Gallery Collection
Photography by Hamilton Art Gallery
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Stylistically Guardians of the Grotto by Janet Beckhouse would probably be described as neo-rococo, but its intricate naturalistic modelling shares much in common with Bernard Palissy's work in 16th century France. It's title suggests a grotto as the source of inspiration which in its 17th century manifestation was frequently lined with shells and features suggestive of an undersea world. Ultimately though this vase is just a highly original, beautifully crafted object that evokes curiosity, fascination and wonder.
Hamilton Art Gallery was founded with the donation of a collection of some 750 decorative arts items mainly of European or Chinese origin. The Gallery was opened in 1961 at the height of the Scandinavian modern movement and this, together with the personal interest in glass of one of the founding Trustees, lead to the Gallery building up a collection of contemporary art glass. In recent years this has been extended to cover contemporary glass from all the European glass producing countries.
The Gallery also collects contemporary metalwork, design and East Asian ceramics building on elements of the original bequest.