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The V&A

Cherry on the Cake

The ‘Cherry on the Cake’ range is our designer collection, and represents the best of the best. It brings together designers, ideas and products in a collection of exclusive editions to match the diversity, originality and quality of the V&A itself. 

Jonathan Harris, world class designer and glassmaker from Ironbridge, Shropshire, has been commissioned by the V&A museum to design an exclusive hand carved cameo vase.

Jonathan Harris is one of just eighteen artists from around the world who has been chosen by the V&A to design and produce an exclusive work of art to be a part of their ‘Cherry on the Cake’ collection.

Jonathan is renowned for his collectible, unique, highly skilled designs using the ancient technique of cameo carving. The process, which requires tremendous skill and dexterity, was originally developed by the Romans and revived for a short time by the Stourbridge cameo producers in the 19th century. Today, few possess the level of skill required to produce such intricate detail and aesthetically beautiful works of art.

From his small studio located at the Coalport China museum, Ironbridge, Jonathan has hand carved this stunning landscape vase.

The brief from the V&A was to take inspiration from works belonging to the V&A collection. Jonathan’s inspiration for his vase came from the works of John Constable, in particular, oil on canvas ‘Water Meadows’ near Salisbury 1829.

Jonathan Harris

‘..the colour shifts, the quality of light, the romantic narrative…’

‘I am surrounded and constantly inspired by the beauty of Shropshire’s countryside and Constable obviously possessed a similar passion for the landscape. It seemed so fitting to combine and express a mutual interest through two diverse media, my love of glass and Constable’s love of oils’.

The cameo ‘blank’ is firstly produced by fusing together layers of coloured molten glass, adding enamel straps and trails and 24ct gold leaf to create inner decoration and the undulating valley and hills in the background. Further layers of enamel colours are added to the surface before gilding the complete vase in multiple layers of sterling silver leaf. Jonathan then takes the ‘blank’ and begins the painstaking process of carving the design through the silver and many layers of colour to reveal the landscape design in relief.

Each vase is unique, signed by Jonathan, is a limited edition of just 25, and costs £450. Each piece is made to order and is exclusive to the V&A.

The Edition is now sold out!