Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Antique Limoges porcelain

Serious collectors know that Limoges specialise in trinket boxes and that those little boxes are worth more than almost anything that could fit inside them. Antique Limoges porcelain is considered the finest hard paste porcelain in the world because of three very specific characteristics.The first being the essential ingredients used in creating Limoges porcelain are all local natural ingredients, kaolin, feldspar and quartz. Then the intense firing process that forms the superb glaze that cannot be penetrated by the elements and gives Limoges porcelain that exquisite translucence. Finally, an abundance of skilled artists and the French flair for aristic design set a standard that other Europeans and American porcelain producers struggle to emulate.

Limoges Coronet hand painted porcelain wall plate
So, if your grandchild has just lost her first tooth or received his first haircut. How do you commemorate such a momentous event? Believe it or not, you’ll find an exquisite Limoges porcelain trinket box designed especially to memorialize those first strands of snipped hair, or that first lost tooth.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The object of the day: 19th century needlework instruction book

One of two extremely rare needlework instruction books with samples from the female model school
Kildare Place, Dublin, Ireland
Sold: $3,304.00($2,800.00)
Comprising "A Concise Account of the Mode of Instructing in Needle-Work... " printed by Thomas I. White, Dublin, 1833, and "Specimens of Needle-Work Executed in the Female Model School..." printed by George Folds, the cover inscribed "Sarah Darby 1837" and including cloth samples of sewing, darning, embroidery, knitting, and miniature clothing. Each in marbleized covers, largest 9 ¼ x 6 inches. (One illustrated)
Provenance: Witney Antiques, Oxon, England.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The object of the day: Caddy spoon by Omar Ramsden

Omar Ramsden caddy spoons were used to measure tea leaves from the caddy to the teapot. This spoon, by Omar Ramsden and Alwyn Charles Ellison Carr, has a planished finish and central red enamelled panel. The price is estimated GBP 1,200 - 1,800. 

The work of Omar Ramsden has become highly desirable in recent years. He produced high-quality re-interpretations of Tudor and Celtic silver, metalwork and jewellery, often featuring hand-hammered finishes, enamels and applied decoration. Ramsden operated a small workshop from 1898 - 1919 in partnership with Alwyn Carr, and went on to register his own mark in 1919.

His workshops produced a large volume of ecclesiastical, civic and corporate work in the Art Nouveau and Art & Crafts styles. He produced numerous presentation pieces and private commissions. His works often have the engraved inscription 'Omar Ramsden Me Fecit' ('Omar Ramsden made me').

Friday, January 10, 2014

Shaker furniture

The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly known as the Shakers, conducted the largest and most successful communal experiment in American history. While today there is only one active Shaker community, with three members, at Sabbathday Lake in Maine, at its height during the mid-nineteenth century, this Protestant sect had more than six thousand members spread across eighteen communities, from Maine to Kentucky. The largest and most influential community was established at New Lebanon, New York, in 1787 and remained active until 1947.

Shakers first came to America from England in 1774. Led by the prophet Ann Lee, this small and radical group of English Quakers believed that the millennium—the thousand years of peace with Christ before the end of the world—was at hand. Known as the Shaking Quakers, or Shakers, because of their penchant for ecstatic movement and dancing during worship (a physical response to their sense of being infused with the spirit of God), these religious dissidents surrendered themselves to God and emulated Christ’s pure and humble life on earth.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Antique cast-iron toys

Toys and banks (novelty money boxes) made of cast iron are almost exclusively American, and the collecting of these toys is largely an American activity.

Cast-iron banks appeared after the American Civil War when America was swept by a craze for hoarding coins in response to paper money of very low denomination printed by both sides during the war. By the 1880s the banks had become quite sophisticated and increasingly popular.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Early Chinese Porcelain

Some porcelain was produced in the Yuan dynasty (1280 - 1368), decorated in underglaze blue. It took some time, however, for the fashionable celadon wares to be superdeded by the crisply decorated porcelains, which were initially seen as vulgar in some quarters.

In 1368 the Mongol Yuan dynasty was overcome and the Ming dynasty was established: it was to last until 1644. During the early years of the first Ming Emperor's reign, porcelain in underglaze blue or red developed further. By the end of the 14th century, porcelain had gained fashionable status.

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