This neoclassical glass vase was made in imitation of porphyry. The use of porphyry for carved and turned vases was known from Roman times, and was reintroduced by the Swedish court during the second half of the 18th century. The workshop of Werner and Mieth was founded in Berlin in 1792. In 1794, it was given a royal appointment by King Frederick William II of Prussia (1744–1797). The workshop became famous for its well-made bronzes and mounted glassware. It supplied chandeliers for important royal residences, including the Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin and the Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam.
The elegant neoclassical designs of the glass vases resulted from Werner and Mieth’s collaboration with the architects Friedrich David Gilly (1772–1800) and Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781–1841). Gilly published his Essays zur Architektur between 1796 and 1799, and Schinkel was described by Adolf Loos as “the last great architect.” Both men had an enormous impact on architecture at that time, and they displayed remarkable talent and varied interests in domestic design and furnishings. The design and the bronze mounts of this vase are related to a large group of objects, traditionally attributed to the Imperial Russian Manufactory in St. Petersburg. These objects seem to have been decorated with bronze mounts from Werner and Mieth. The glass of this vase differs from that of the Russian pieces, but the applied decoration suggests the same bronze founder and highlights the importation of western European art into imperial Russia.
For more information on Werner and Mieth and its commissioned works for the Prussian court, see Käthe Klappenbach, Kronleuchter: Mit Behang aus Bergkristall und Glas sowie Glasarmkronleuchter bis 1810, Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2001, pp. 96–103 (Rakow Library Bib No 68334).