A piece from Lauriston Castle The fireplace at Kedleston Hall
GEORGIAN EXAMPLES OF BLUE JOHN Unsurprisingly, given its proximity to the source of Blue John, Chatsworth House contains several vases and other ornaments and even a window made of Blue John.The collection includes the Chatsworth Tazza, the largest single-piece ornament, made in 1842, and currently on display in the dining room.The house also contains what is probably the largest Blue John vase ever made, created by John Vallance around 1840.
Kedleston Hall, designed by Robert Adam in 1765 to rival Chatsworth also contains some fine examples. Richard Brown, a local sculptor with an interest in a mine, used Blue John as an inlay in the marble fireplace at the nearby hall.
Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh has up to 80 examples of Blue John amassed by William Robert Reid the last owner of
Lauriston Castle (from 1902-1926).The collection includes several pieces believed to have been manufactured at Matthew Boulton’s works in Soho, Birming ham during the late 18th century, including a particularly rare item with an anti-slavery symbol.
One of the pieces from Lauriston Castle
The castle will host a lecture on the natural history of Blue John by Professor Godfrey Fitton on July 20, which also includes a tour of the Lauriston Castle collection.
A Blue John bowl, urn and chalice in the collection at Fellows.Various estimates from £400 to £1,200
processing. King George III was an early patron, ordering a pair of perfume burners for the Royal Collection; as was Empress Catherine of Russia, who ordered pieces for the Imperial Palace in St. Petersburg.
During the later 18th century, in the hey day of Blue John, the annual limit for extrac tion was nominally 20 tonnes.A century later in 1892, this was 3 tonnes.The early 20th cen tury saw the closure of works in Derby, and of the Ashford Marble Works in 1905. By 1913, at an auction of Blue John, Greatorex of Mat lock sold 50kg blocks at £1, 15 shillings, and small pieces were sold for five to eight shillings.The caverns themselves were sold in 1919 and Treak Cliff opened as a tourist destination in 1935.
MATTHEW BOULTON Known as the finest designer of Blue John, Matthew Boulton, in 1769, purchased 14 tonnes of the mineral, at a cost if £5,15 shillings and sixpence per tonne.The year previously, he had tried to purchase or lease the mines via his Lunar Society friend and contact, John Whitehouse of Derby. He wrote:
“The principal intention of this letter is to tell you that I have found a new use for Blew John wch. will consume some quantity of it. I mean that sort
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