George III Blue John Panther

  • This majestic panther is one of a rare handful of Blue John sculptures in existence
  • Considered extinct, Blue John is exceedingly rare as its mines were depleted in the 19th century
  • Resembling panther sculptures of ancient Rome, this statue is exemplary of neoclassical design
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-4470

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One of the only known sculptures rendered in Blue John to exist in the world, this extraordinary George III panther exemplifies Georgian sophistication. Georgian — and later Regency — aesthetics revived classical themes of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. With a proud stance, gaping jaw and unyielding gaze, the stately panther closely resembles the grand ancient Roman panthers often carved from marble as trapezophoros table supports. The regal cat rests atop a plinth, also made of Blue John, with Siena and Ashford marble detailing.

The intrinsic and richly hued mineral inclusions of the Blue John replicate the textures and colors of the animal’s fur. The rare stone is a variety of natural calcium fluorite found exclusively in Derbyshire, England. It was first discovered in the early 18th century, but its mining did not being until circa 1760. Blue John was a wildly popular material in the decorative arts during the Georgian and Regency periods, and it was so fashionable that its only known quarries were depleted by 1825 and remain extinct today. 

The mineral’s brittle consistency made carving or chiseling Blue John virtually impossible; the most common pieces found in this medium are simple columns or urns — round subjects that could be shaped easily. This regal panther would have taken many painstaking months to complete using only a delicate hand-grinding process, and it represents some of the last wares of such grand size and proportion created with the mineral.

Late 18th century

10" wide x 7" deep x 20" high
George III Blue John Panther
Period: 18th Century
Origin: England
Type: Figurines/Statuettes
Depth: 7.25 Inches
Width: 7.25 Inches
Height: 19.5 Inches
Style: Neoclassical
George III Blue John Panther
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