Could this be one of the biggest Blue John vases ever made?

Sotheby’s in New York are selling a Blue John vase which is 48.3 cm (19 inches) tall. It comes with an equally large auction estimate of $150,000 – $250,000.  That’s £97,000 – £162,000!

A LARGE REGENCY BLUE JOHN KRATER-FORM VASE, ATTRIBUTED TO JAMES SHORE 
CIRCA 1815

It belongs to Princeton University and is attributed to James Shore who also made the large tazza at Chatsworth House. It is thought that the largest Blue John vase ever made is in the Geological Museum in London (now the Natural History Museum).

However things aren’t quite that simple and there is much confusion, mystery and rumour surrounding these large pieces. You can find out more about the mysteries of the crude engravings, later modifications and mismeasurements by reading Trevor D. Ford’s article ‘The largest blue john vases ever made’.

Like all good stories it leaves us with the tantalising thought that there was possibly an even bigger vase that has now been lost in the mists of time.

Ford’s article has flagged up another anomaly.  Written in 1992 it states that Princeton University have a large Blue John urn – so far so good.  But the auction provenance for the Princeton vase says that it passed through Sotheby’s sale room in 1985 and 2004.  So did Princeton buy it in 1985? Sell it somewhere else and then buy it back in 2004?  Or did they originally have two of them?  If so, could one have been the long lost largest vase?

 The mystery continues….

Latest News – the vase sold on 27th January for $338,500.  Eek!