THE COGHILL CENTRE TABLE WITH A NEO-CLASSICAL CERAMIC TOP BY W. T. COPELAND
Staffordshire England Circa 1850
Bearing a 19th Century hand written label stating that the table top design is taken from an ancient Greek vase in Sir John Coghill’s collection and describing the scene.
The unidentified scene appears to represent Aphrodite, seated on rocks in a garden and accepting wine from a lover, possibly Adonis. The inspiration for this ceramic tour de force comes from the Apulian Red Figure vessels of the 5th and 4th Centuries BC.
The genius who designed the base not only created a vase central column to reflect the Coghill collection of ancient vases, but both with the palmette top edge moulding, the carved panel friezes on both the column and the triform base panels, mirrored the decoration on the ceramic top. Given the complexity and originality of the base it can only have been conceived by one of the leading architect designers of the first half of the 19thCentury.
In the New York exhibition of 1853 W.T.Copeland displayed a table top in the Etruscan manner with an identical border to the top of the existing table.
Due to the difficulty in creating ceramic tops of this large size together with their vulnerability few if any have survived.
Measurements: Height 27” (68.5cms) Diameter 25.5” (65cms)
Sir John Coghill (1766-1817)
Sir John was the second baronet and inherited the title and estates on the death of his father in 1790. The family name was originally Cramer with strong Irish political roots. Sir John changed his name to Coghill by Royal licence in 1807. The family residence was Coghill Hall, Knaresborough, Yorkshire. Sir John never married. He latterly sold the family estates and retired abroad where he amassed an important collection of ancient Greek vases to rival that of Sir William Hamilton, British Envoy in Naples and renowned collector. Sir John acquired most of his collection from Giovanni Gherardo de Rossi and the Neopolitan collector M. Bonnet. He died in Caen, Normandy but his collections were brought back to England and sold in London by Christies in June 1819. Most of the vases were purchased at the sale by Henry Englefield, Thomas Hope and Richard Payne Knight and now reside in many international museums.
Lit. Great Exhibitions 1851-1900 by Jonathan Meyer Publishers Antique Collectors Club 2006 page 81 Illustration B33
James Millingen Published by De Romanis 1817 Peintures Antiques de Vases Grecs de la Collection de Sir John Coghill Bart.
Our thanks to the Crown Office Scribe for analysing the handwriting on the label preserved on the underside of the table.