wood, jasper and lapis lazuli, silver-gilt and gold with translucent and opaque enamel
49.4 x 39.3 x 39.3 cm
The Vasters workshop archive includes three designs for a mounted lapis lazuli casket, one of which is closely related to the present work. When executed, changes were made in the disposition of the panels of coloured hardstone and the details of the applied ornament. In the design, the horizontal divisions are defined by panels of red jasper; however, when realised, this was replaced with lapis lazuli. This modification, together with the substitution of lapis by jasper for the obelisk finials on the corners of the casket, has the effect of emphasising the upward movement of the jasper pilasters and scroll supports that were part of the original design. Further, the principal surfaces, left vacant in the project drawing, have been enriched with enamelled gold openwork mounts. The individual drawings for eight of these are contained in an envelope stuck to the main sheet.
Another adjustment was the decision to enamel part of the figure group of Venus and Adonis surmounting the casket. Comparison between the work as executed and the preparatory drawings show how Vasters systematically refined the basic form of the original idea to attain structural harmony and, at the same time, progressively enriched the surfaces with enamelled decorative detail. Exactly the same evolution may be traced in the design and creation of the large covered bowl GER 117.
Haydn Williams, Enamels of the World: 1700-2000 The Khalili Collections, London 2009, cat. 236, pp. 342–3.