Wave bowl

Designer: Attributed to Christopher Dresser (British, Glasgow, Scotland 1834–1904 Mulhouse)

Manufacturer: Linthorpe Pottery Works (British, 1879–1889)

Date: ca. 1880

Culture: British, Linthorpe, Yorkshire

Medium: Glazed earthenware

Dimensions: Overall: 7 × 7 × 4 1/2 in. (17.8 × 17.8 × 11.4 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Pottery

Credit Line: Purchase, James David Draper Gift, in memory of Robert Isaacson, 2001

Accession Number: 2001.549


This bowl, covered in a turquoise-green glaze with a yellow and green striped interior, is molded to suggest a cresting wave. Further molded with gadrooning and a band of small circles, the bowl reflects various sources upon which Christopher Dresser relied. Japanese prints strongly influenced European decorative arts in the second half of the nineteenth century. The powerful curve of Katsushika Hokusai's famous woodblock print The Great Wave at Kanagawa, which was known in the West, is echoed in the shape of this bowl.

This bowl was made by the Linthorpe firm following Dresser's trip to Japan in 1876/77. While not copying Japanese prototypes, Dresser, unlike his contemporaries, abstracted key design elements that suggest Japanese aesthetics.