John Bennett created the luminous surface of his Hibiscus Vase with two layers of glazing. Using thin, vivid colors for his under layer, Bennett painted full-blown blossoms in free and energetic strokes. He then covered it all with a clear, glossy glaze. Once fired, this underglaze technique produced the illusion of depth, making it appear as if the mass of exuberant blooms floated over the dark blue ground. Combining natural forms and refined craftsmanship, Bennett’s work embodies the ideals of the Aesthetic Movement, a British theory of domestic design that defined the home as an oasis of beauty, filled with objects remarkable for their high quality and rare artistry. Born in Britain, Bennett moved to the United States in 1877 after a successful showing of his work at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. The Hibiscus Vase represents Bennett at his best, rendering the beauty of nature with consummate expertise.
From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)
Artist John Bennett, American, 1840 - 1907
  • Hibiscus Vase
Date 1889
Medium earthenware
Dimensions Overall: 12 1/4 × 11 inches (31.1 × 27.9 cm)
Credit Line Museum Purchase, Beatrice Rogers Fund and Lucy Waterman American Art Fund
Accession Number 2005.41
Department American Art before 1950
On View American W285, Level 2 (see map)
Signed Signed: J B[monogram]ENNETT. | 1889. | AP(superscript "L") 30 W.C.(superscript "L") NY
Marks On the underside of vase, written in ink on a paper label: FADG 19453D