antique, British, English Imari, Porcelain

English Imari – Lord Nelson Pattern

Admiral Lord Nelson ordered so much of this pattern from Chamberlains, Worcester that it is now named for him. Key features of this English imari pattern are the animals that hide in its borders. Coalport also made this pattern and there are several variants. Dating from c.1805-1815 here are two Coalport examples – with close-ups of the animals

antique, Chinese, Imari, Italian, Porcelain

Chinese Imari

Continuing on the Imari theme – I thought it might be interesting to look at closeups of a couple of pieces – and at the pitfalls of collecting – this pair dates from around 1720 – they are not quite the same as each other – the reds are slightly different, the level of gilding is different, the underglaze blue is differently spaced – so different ends of the factory? different artists? or maybe one is a replacement. See the reference piece on Gotheborg also shown below. Be careful though as this is a pattern that was copied with surprising accuracy by Doccia between 1760 and 1800 – so I include a dish from the Victoria & Albert museum online collection (black Background) dated by them as just pre 1800 which has Doccia’s marks on the back BUT a) not all Doccia is marked b) Doccia was one of the earliest European manufacturers to produce a convincing hard paste porcelain that is quite hard to differentiate from Chinese export pieces unless you have handled a lot – I have a piece and it was wrongly attributed by several experts including a well-known Auction house until I went to a specialist Museum in Cambridge (and a major auction house) who both recognised it.

Below a Doccia plate from the V&A Museum – late 18th Century

http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O278556/plate-doccia-porcelain-factory/
antique, blue, blue and white, British, Cups, English Imari, Imari, Porcelain, white

Postcard Pattern

Several factories are known to have used this decoration and research is still continuing – reference pieces include these two teapots.

Teapot 1 Originally from the Godden Reference Collection now in the Author’s Collection
Teapot 2 From the Author’s Collection

Both teapots have been under scrutiny from acknowledged experts and both are still the objects of study.

Teapot 1 first appeared in print in Goddens’ Porcelain Maunfacturer’s book (here attributed to Cambrian Pottery, but later put into a “problem” Category as you can see below).

What makes attribution so difficult is, oddly, not the lack of pattern numbers or maker’s marks, though, clearly these don’t help. What makes it hard is the non-conformity of style, paste, design, glaze, shape and pattern between these pieces and other contemporary named pieces.

Current thinking is that Teapot 1 is probably A & E Keeling (formerly known as Factory X). Its hybrid paste and format putting it 1795-1800

Teapot 2 appears in Michael Berthoud’s second Cup reference book as Plate 608 however the attribution to Turner is speculative and open, still, to debate (especially by at least one Turner collector).

Even more difficult to identify, it has also been suggested that it was an experimental piece of porcelain – certainly no other with this combination of spout and handle is known in hybrid paste. At one point it was mooted that it might be a Haynes experiment involving Rogers – but no corroborative documentation has been found.

My belief is that one of the teabowls and the saucer below may well have been made by the same factory as Teapot 2 (if not decorated by the same decorator).

antique, Chinese, Jade, Stone Carvings

Advice Sought

A Collector based in the Costa Blanca area of Spain has just approached us for advice on how to sell these interesting and well provenanced Chinese Artefacts – so your help is enlisted – what is the best place to put these items – if you have an Auction House or are a Dealer, are any of these items that you could help with? The largest object is very, very heavy – the purchase receipts are dated 1989. Please comment here or email  editor@antiquesreview.com or contact us @AntiquesRev on Twitter if you are able to assist

antique, blue and white, Chinese, Cups, Porcelain

Chinese Blue & White – The Cup

The wealth of designs on Chinese Blue and White Porcelain is astounding and is far more broad than one might expect, from Turner’s version of the “Willow Pattern”. My joy in collecting Chinese Blue and white is to explore the diversity – and small coffee cups are an inexpensive way to build up a substantial base for research (and a nice display)

These late 18th Century Chinese cups are all hand painted, all blue and white and all very different different

  

Even these two cups from the same set are, obviously, painted by two totally different artists

These three cups are all of buildings. The first is a striking attempt at a Church – described but not seen. The second has bricks which I have not seen before on Chinese Porcelain and the third is so classically what the English expected, on their blue and white, that it could almost be a copy from an English Transfer Pattern.

The four bridges on the following three cups are, again, all different; yet the three willow trees are surprisingly similar. Note the superior quality of the painting in the centre cup to its fellow on the left. NB The fourth bridge is in the background of the third cup!

Three Cups and a bunch of Flowers!

Embellished with English Gilding and high detail

And Finally

A Sense of Humour and the wonkiest buffalo ever!

Indonesian, Kris, Malay

The Kris

by Michael A. W. Griffin

The sinuous blade on display was definitely a Kris – the mystical and lethal, traditional weapon of the Malays. The stallholder in Needham Market issued a warning. “There are many copies and I can’t really tell, but I think it’s a good one”. ‘It’ was a beautiful example, in the sort of condition which told that it could have been a cosseted antique or a ceremonial wedding Kris preserved by a family proud of its tradition.

 

The abundance of curios for sale from, and in South East Asia can be confusing. The casual buyer, seeing a poorly plated Kukri offered alongside a replica samurai sword, near a Bornean hilang or Malay kris might dismiss all, without further thought, daunted by the task of authentication.

Allegedly over a thousand years old, the Kris is supposed to have been the successor of daggers made from the bones of stingrays and it figures in stories of the Mahajapit Empire of the 13th century. It also appears in tales of the early Malaccan Sultanate, in particular the Hang Tuah legends, which feature acts of heroism and chivalry. Hang Tuah, the hero, was a bodyguard of the Sultan Mansur Shah who rewarded his bravery by presenting to him, the kris of a vanquished enemy. The name of the famed weapon was Tamin Sari. It is now the property of the Sultan of Perak.

Unlike most foreign daggers, the Malay hilt appears bent, to provide a four or five inch “pistol grip” facilitating its use as a thrusting weapon. Balinese or other Indonesian hilts are usually straight. The woodcarving represents Hindu deities. Local carvers work freehand on the hilt but the sheath, traditionally made from finely grained “ornamental wood”, is rarely carved. It will be polished and may be decorated with silver or ivory trim. There are relatively recent examples of ivory hilt, sheath and trim but these are usually modern “bridegroom ornaments” and they probably became popular with Asian carvers, due to the increased availability of African ivory. Amongst the historic weapons are regional variants where Arabic, Quranic quotations may be displayed on the blade. These were etched or engraved, then filled with silver. There is a smaller defensive kris, which has a curved (six inch), one-sided blade. Its name in Malay might remind you of the spurs of the fighting cocks – Lawi Ayam. It has been fascinating to meet a number of Malay ironsmiths in workshops as far apart as Trengannu and Brunei who still make a few ceremonial Kris for weddings and national display. All these craftsmen have a fund of ‘Kris’ stories, from those featuring the legendary Hang Tuah, to the more contemporary about ‘The Father of Malaysia’, Tungkhu Abdul Rahman. If you travel east, intent on buying in village markets, it would be worth learning some Malay language. Being able to discuss the history and mystery associated with the weapons will help your price and extend to you folklore, hospitality and, with luck, some of the mystery and fascination of the antique Kris.

A Kris is made in three parts. The blade, usually over twelve inches long, is wrought from iron. When red-hot, it is heated, beaten and drawn, then laminated with different iron ores often including meteoric metal, until the sinuous shape begins to form. It is filed and shaped into an uneven number of curves and small steps in the laminations serrate the edges. Not all Kris have curved blades  these were functional weapons and not simply ceremonial.

Unusual blade with eleven twists as opposed to the conventional nine
Unusual blade with eleven twists as opposed to the conventional nine

Bone handled straight edged Kris (Early to mid 19th Century)
Bone handled straight edged Kris (Early to mid 19th Century)

The flat finish, usually given a ‘damascene type’ appearance, is sharpened to warrant the description “sharp as a razor.”

Caution – The modern welding, forging process, often includes pieces of hardened metal from vehicle parts – even bicycle chain – offering a superior alloy.

A modern, crudely wrought blade
A modern, crudely wrought blade

However, the early iron from Persia, with meteorite additives, added mystery as well as strength.

Rare thirteen curve blade
Rare thirteen curve blade

Unlike most foreign daggers, the Malay hilt appears bent, to provide a four or five inch “pistol grip” facilitating its use as a thrusting weapon. Balinese or other Indonesian hilts are usually straight. The woodcarving represents Hindu deities. Local carvers work freehand on the hilt but the sheath, traditionally made from finely grained “ornamental wood”, is rarely carved. It will be polished and may be decorated with silver or ivory trim. There are relatively recent examples of ivory hilt, sheath and trim but these are usually modern “bridegroom ornaments” and they probably became popular with Asian carvers, due to the increased availability of African ivory. Amongst the historic weapons are regional variants where Arabic, Quranic quotations may be displayed on the blade. These were etched or engraved, then filled with silver. There is a smaller defensive kris, which has a curved (six inch), one-sided blade. Its name in Malay might remind you of the spurs of the fighting cocks – Lawi Ayam. It has been fascinating to meet a number of Malay ironsmiths in workshops as far apart as Trengannu and Brunei who still make a few ceremonial Kris for weddings and national display. All these craftsmen have a fund of ‘Kris’ stories, from those featuring the legendary Hang Tuah, to the more contemporary about ‘The Father of Malaysia’, Tungkhu Abdul Rahman. If you travel east, intent on buying in village markets, it would be worth learning some Malay language. Being able to discuss the history and mystery associated with the weapons will help your price and extend to you folklore, hospitality and, with luck, some of the mystery and fascination of the antique Kris.

©M A W Griffin 1999

Bent Garuda Handle - The traditional poisoned man in pain
Bent Garuda Handle – The traditional poisoned man in pain

Another version of the Garuda Handle and blade
Another version of the Garuda Handle and blade

Detial of the Garuda Handle
Detial of the Garuda Handle

 

Porcelain

Letter to the Editor – Small Vases

Dear Editor,

Please could you tell me how old these vases are? All I know is they were given to my Grandmother about 60 years ago by a friend. I have been offered US$90 for the pair should I take it or should I keep them.

RP

(name and address supplied)

Dear RP,

The vases appear to be in excellent condition, they were made on the continent (Europe), like the figures in the letter from MG. They date from between 1895 & 1910 so they are about a hundred years old. I think, if you have decided to sell them, that the offer is more than fair. I would suggest that you “grab the money and run”

Editor

Antiques Review.

vase vasebase

Pottery

Letter to the Editor – Figurines

Dear Editor,

I was delighted to find your site and look forward to reading future issues. With this message is a picture of a pair of small figures which I inherited. I know they are at least forty years old but wonder if you could tell me anything about them? Are they likely to be valuable? I really don’t want to sell them but it might be silly not to.

oldpair

Best of luck with your new publication.

Yours sincerely,

MG Spain.

(Name & email address supplied)

Dear MG,

Thank you for your contribution and best wishes.

As far as I can see your figures appear to be hand painted, unglazed earthenware & I would guess are over a hundred years old – possibly continental. They do not strike me as being fantastically valuable and I would suggest that you keep them until you can get them checked by an expert.

If there are any marks underneath, perhaps you could email a photo of them to me it may help to date the figures and show where they were made.

If any one has more information, opinions or ideas, why not email me and I will post the info on this page.

Ed

Postscript

MG has emailed me a photo of the bases.

pairbase

They appear to be made from an orange toned clay. I think they are German and date from about 1880. Sadly the value is still not high, but they are odd enough and old enough to be worth hanging onto!

Ed

 

Porcelain

Letter to the Editor – Vase

Dear Sirs,

I have the following urn vase (see pictures).
Please let me know what it is, when made, and the possible value

Regards,     B

Mark underneath
Mark underneath

Ornate vase
Ornate vase

Thank you for your question – Its certainly an interesting piece.

The mark and general appearance seem to be consistent with pieces from the Rodolstadt Volkstedt area (Germany, Thuringia). I believe the mark is that of

Triebner, Ens and Eckkert 1876-1894

and as there is no other mark on the base I would suggest that it dates between 1877-1886

As far as value is concerned that is a little trickier assuming there is no damage – it would depend on where you are selling it and how. As a dealer in the UK (where the provincial market for decorative Volkstedt pieces is not that good) I would probably price it at around #250 – #300 – particularly as I would expect it to be part of a larger set.

In the US where large decorative 19th Century pieces seem to be more popular I would price it higher at around $700 – $900 as a private seller I would seek the advice of your local auctioneer or even join the discussion board at http://www.porcelainsite.com/   which, whilst it is a source of modern Volkstedt porcelain, also has a discussion forum for older pieces their identification and, I believe, value.

 

Porcelain

Dear Editor – Saucer

Dear Sir,
I have in my possession a small, crudely painted, blue and white shallow dish. It looks Chinese, but the porcelain isn’t the right texture. There are three little cannon balls in the pattern and trees with a pagoda and a hut on islands and on the left of one is a tiny fisherman, sitting fishing. Although it was covered in soil when found, it is in excellent condition. Can you please tell me what it is and if it is valuable?

Pamela

(Address Supplied)

Dear Pamela,
Please, hold the bowl up to a strong light. Does the porcelain look slightly greenish with the light behind it? If it does, you may have a very rare pattern on what sounds like an early Worcester Saucer. The presence of the fisherman adds a great deal of rarity to the cannonball pattern. I will put my full report up on the website for you once I have had your reply, but I think it safe to tell you that there is a possibility your piece is worth at least £250, possibly a lot more. Whatever you do with the saucer, please make sure that you send photos of it to the Dyson Perrins Museum. They might make you an offer but, at the very least, they will be able to authenticate it for you.
All the best,
The Editor.

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