The Hydra (water jar) was created in 450 B.C.E. and the smaller vase was created in 1795. Over two thousand years separate the dates of these vessels. Each is wheel thrown and hand decorated, but the Wedgwood vase is more rigid in form and lacks the wonderfully detailed painting and wear seen on the ancient Greek example.
Josiah Wedgwood created his innovative black basalt ware during the Enlightenment when there was a renewed European interest in the art of ancient Greece and Rome. Inspired by the classical red-figured Greek vases, Wedgwood set out to copy those wares, but soon found that the decoration on the originals was much more complicated than he first thought. It was not until the middle of the twentieth century that the original formula for the fluid black slip – using urine or stale wine mixed with pigments and clay – was known.