Blue John

Blue John is a type of ornamental mineral found exclusively in the Castleton area of Derbyshire in England. It is a variety of fluorite that exhibits bands of blue, purple, and white or yellow colours, and has been prized for its beauty since Roman times.

Matthew Boulton was a prominent 18th-century industrialist and entrepreneur who is most famous for his work with James Watt on the development of the steam engine. Boulton also had a keen interest in decorative arts and interior design, and he was a patron of many craftsmen and artists who worked in various media, including Blue John.

Boulton used the mineral in a variety of decorative objects, including vases, urns, and other small ornaments. He was particularly fond of using Blue John in combination with other materials such as ormolu (gilded bronze), marble, and other decorative stones to create intricate and luxurious pieces. Many of these items were created for his own personal collection or as gifts for his friends and associates.

One notable example of Boulton’s use of the decorative stone is a pair of ormolu-mounted Blue John vases that he commissioned from the celebrated Derbyshire craftsman William Parker in the late 18th century. These vases are now housed in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and they are considered to be among the finest examples of Blue John craftsmanship from this period.


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