Wedgwood & Bentley Basalt Canopic Jar-Candleholder. Circa 1770. Photo courtesy M.S.Rau Antiques

This compelling black basalt covered vase and candleholder by Wedgwood & Bentley is crafted in the form of an Egyptian canopic vase, or container made to store the organs removed during the process of mummification. Bearing an Egyptian head in its lid, representing Imsety, a Son of Horus, this fascinating light reflects this incredible influence that ancient Egypt had on the work of artists and craftsmen in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In fact, black basalt was a marked improvement upon the earlier Egyptian ware, which had been made by other Staffordshire potters. 4 1/8" diameter x 11 5/8" high. Price: $12,850

In 1768, Josiah Wedgwood partnered with Thomas Bentley and established a factory named 'Etruria' for making ornamental wares. Along with the famed jasperware, Wedgwood's black basalt was arguably the most revolutionary creation to emerge from the Etruria factory.

M.S.Rau Antiques http://www.rauantiques.com