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Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird

John Lockwood Kipling (1837-1911)

Category

Ceramics

Date

1879

Materials

Earthenware

Measurements

20 mm (Height); 236 mm (Diameter)

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Collection

Wimpole, Cambridgeshire (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Not on show

NT 205678.8

Summary

'"Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!", Keats'. Glazed earthenware plate with cobalt drawing by John Lockwood Kipling. Signed 'JLK'. One of eleven dessert plates at Wimpole Hall, originally from a set of thirteen entitled 'nos ennemis intimes'.

Full description

Kipling created a set of 13 dessert plates entitled ‘nos ennemis intimes’ for the purpose of display in the Punjab Exhibition of Arts and Manufactures of 1881-82. Eleven of these circular plates are at Wimpole Hall, the former home of Kipling’s granddaughter, Elsie Bambridge. The plates are white earthenware with cobalt blue drawings illustrating Indian servants and craftsmen accompanied by quotations form either the Bible or British literary notables including Keats, Milton and Shakespeare. The negativity of the underlying messages (that Indian servants are clumsy or likely to drink while on duty) is typical of the perspective of the ruling British class in power under the Raj. The plates are signed ‘JLK’ on the front and most are marked ‘J.L. Kipling 1879’ on the reverse. The cobalt was probably applied to the unglazed plate, which then was glazed and fired. The uneven glaze apparent on the surface of the plates indicated the use of this process, which was more efficient than painting over glaze and then firing. There are blue ink drawings for this series of plates with complementary quotations in the rare books collection at Princeton University and other sketches, also round in format, in the University of Sussex collection. Kipling also exhibited his drawings of Indian craftsmen in the Punjab Exhibition. Text adapted from Barbara Bryant, 'Alice Kipling' in ‘John Lockwood Kipling: Art & Crafts in the Punjab and London’, Bard Graduate Center Gallery, New York and Yale University Press, 2017, p.235.

Provenance

Part of the Bambridge Collection. The hall and contents were bequeathed to the National Trust in 1976 by Mrs Elsie Bambridge (1896-1976)

Makers and roles

John Lockwood Kipling (1837-1911), artist

References

John Lockwood Kipling: Arts & Crafts in the Punjab and London (Ed.Julius Bryant and Susan Weber) published in conjunction with the exhibition, the Victoria & Albert Museum, 14 Jan - 2 Apr 2017; Bard Graduate Center, New York: 15 Sept 2017 - 7 Jan 2018., pp. 234-5

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