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The Moon Maiden Vase 1931

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Clem Ainslie - Harvey School - The Moon Nymph Vase 1931

Clem Ainslie – Harvey School – The Moon Nymph Vase 1931

The Moon Nymph vase.

A slab-built vase, of squared baluster form with slightly flared lip, standing on four squared feet.

Decoration is free-painted in mottled blue with white reserves of a different nymph to each face.

Signed & dated 1931

Size: 17.5cm high

Item # 3

Expressing the Art-Nouveau freedom of the early 20th century, this piece is the only example of its kind in the collection. Using a reserve technique echoing the red-figure technique of the ancient Greeks, the nimble moon maiden reaches for the stars. The mottled blue background gives the illusion of staring into the milky way on a dark night.

This vase is similar to ‘exercise 5’ in technique, a slab vase, but with a baluster form. It differs from all the other pieces in its technique, which also raises the interesting point that Clem has painted this piece herself, rather than leaving the glazing to the Stone Pottery glazers. It shows a freedom of self-expression not possible in the strictly school-devised pieces. In the 1983 Queensland Art Gallery book on Harvey, it states (p18) “With few exceptions, the works depicting the human figure are by Harvey”. This piece is rather rare, then, and perhaps owes its origins in the likes of Norman Lindsay etchings of the 1920’s, which Clem may well have seen reproduced in the magazines she read. It bears a passing resemblance to his 1924 ‘Delight’, although somewhat tamer!

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