CC: It's very curious. I'm really interested in this composition of the Madonna and Child and why it's actually on the pot, and what decisions he made to place this particular figure on a vessel form. [video clip starts] And I wonder, is he actually referencing any particular Madonna, whether it was a painting or a sculpture he saw, or is it purely imaginative? It looks like a Botticelli. But they're two very contradictory things, I think, with the Madonna drawing on something seemingly figurative, but phallic - it's like one big thing, isn't it? And very heavy. I almost prefer the back of it, so you're just getting the form with the travel of the glaze that actually accentuates the form. I think the decoration seems to just not make sense really. [video clip ends]
It might have made more sense just calling it 'Madonna without the drawing' but then again maybe that wasn't what he was thinking. These are quite, quite lovely, these lines that describe the form of the shoulder to the neck, and then completely opposite that dribble that actually cuts across that. It has a lot of this going on, and then this, that I quite like. And the spotting is very interesting, but the drawing doesn't seem to make much sense to me, why it's there. It seems a lot more laboured this drawing, much harder where the forms have travelled. There seems to be a lot more consideration from the foot up to the neck. And even the decoration seems a lot more liberal, a lot more interesting. She's very stiff. Am I allowed to look on the inside? It's got lovely spotting.
MP: It's interesting that if it didn't have the title, what it would be like? It was at a time when Staite-Murray was commanding very high prices for named pieces of work.
CC: So the title of the work gives it more value?
MP: I think I'm pushing it a bit there, but it's an interesting ...
CC: It's interesting about what this pot does, you know. Does it give it more value by putting something decorative on it, or an image on it, to give it more status, like Madonna tends to attract those higher values of icons, and Madonna is seemingly impressive and important. And that whether the vessel... does it elevate its importance by just putting this particular image on it as opposed to, maybe, a landscape or whatever. But it seems strange that it also just stands there.
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