Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-5c569c448b-8lphq Total loading time: 0.241 Render date: 2022-07-02T09:40:33.828Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

‘Artful crafts’: A commentary

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 October 2013

R. M. Cook
Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge
Get access


In JHS cv (1985) 108–28 M. Vickers makes far-reaching claims for the dependence of Attic fine pottery on metalwork. I take them more or less in his order. Bronze Age and not only in Greece, but perhaps he reckons such imitation a recurrent phenomenon. At any rate his principal concern is with mature Black-figure and Red-figure.

Copyright © The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies 1987

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 POxy liii (1984) 3659.5–8Google Scholar.

2 Ibid. xvi 16–17.

3 Scure, G.Robert, JRobert, L, BCH xxviii (1904) 224–5Google Scholar.

4 [Julian], Ep. 19 (Bidez-Cumont no. 194). I am grateful to j. M. Cook for this reference.

5 D. Hughes and P. J. Parsons suggest that it might have been a paradox ([n.1] 62).

6 ii 48.8; xix 98.3.

7 The use here of silver seems inconsistent: Vickers notes the stripes and spots of felines and the eye of a horse (though it is not clear from Seure's description whether for the white or the pupil) but it occurs also on the legs of riders. The date should be late Hellenistic, so P. J. Callaghan kindly told me.

8 I do not altogether understand the argument that the palmettes on the shoulders of lekythoi represent ornamental concealments of rivets. Should there not then be rivets, also to be concealed, at the top of the belly? Or were the rivets simply drilled into the wall?

9 To be more exact, Vickers thinks that in earlier black-figure red represents bronze, but that about the time when red-figure began it had come to be used for gold. This change would then have been in the 530s BC on the conventional chronology, but according to Vickers's (which I do not accept) around 480, so allowing Persian booty to increase the supply of precious metals.

10 Though I doubt if, as Vickers says, he would have made more profit. If less gold was used, customers would soon have noticed.

11 His first reference in n. 127 is perhaps a little unfair: I said of the shapes of Etruscan bucchero that there appears to be much imitation of metalwork. Incidentally some Etruscan bucchero pots, which from their blackness might on Vickers's theory be thought to imitate silver, seem to have been given a silver overlay; but this can be interpreted in different ways.

12 From literary sources we hear only of sculptors and painters—of pictures, not pots—who were admitted, and not many of them either.

13 xi 782b.

14 i 28.2.

15 Vickers allows some independent artistry because on a few pots the traces of a preliminary sketch differ considerably from the final painting; and also he excepts hack work.

16 The evidence is Pliny's statement about Parrhasius—‘multa graphidis vestigia exstant in tabulis ac membranis eius, ex quibus proficere dicuntur artifices’ (NH xxxv 68): parchment (‘membrana’) was expensive.

17 This point is made by Canciani, F. in ed. Böhr, E. and Martini, W., Studien zur Mythologie und Vasenmalerei (Mainz 1986) 63 n. 8Google Scholar.

18 A convenient, though now very incomplete, illustrated corpus of signed pots is provided by Hoppin, J. C., A handbook of Greek Black-figured vases (Paris 1924)Google Scholar and A handbook of Attic Red-figured vases (Cambridge, Mass. 1919)Google Scholar.

19 Hoppin (n. 17—B.F.) s.v. Exekias, nos. 1 and 4; 2 and 9.

20 If there were different kinds of line in the ‘designs’ for metalworkers, what was their purpose and how was a relief line produced?

21 Vase-painters' own trial sketches for elaborate compositions are allowed by Beazley, J. D. (‘Potter and painter’, PBA xxx [1944] 38Google Scholar) and Noble, J. V. (The technique of Attic painted pottery [New York 1965] 50Google Scholar).

Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

‘Artful crafts’: A commentary
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

‘Artful crafts’: A commentary
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

‘Artful crafts’: A commentary
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *