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Antiques Considered - June 23, 2010

A writer in King George has e-mailed us pictures of her pair of Celadon plates, which she inherited from her grandmother.  They have the typical extensive Celadon decoration, and pale green lustre finish.  They are   7&1/2 inches in diameter.  The marks on the rear show that they date from before 1891, and, most importantly, indicate that they were for domestic use, rather than being for export.  The Oriental craftsmen often saved their best work for home consumption.
These plates are Chinese, and date from the mid to late nineteenth-century.  The hand-painted decoration is excellent, and the dissimilarities further demonstrate that the pieces are hand-done.  Celadon came into its own a generation ago, and has become one of the most popular oriental genres over the last 40 years, but Canton and Rose Medallion remain the most collectible of oriental porcelains.  It is a very durable porcelain of great density, and does not chip as easily as some European or American china.

The pair of these plates in such good condition is worth $180.  I know a Celadon specialist in Williamsburg who has an extensive, sophisticated collection, which makes both for an impressive display and in her case, a serviceable addition when entertaining.  In doing the many appraiser fairs each year, I notice that Celadon pieces frequently appear, most of them coming as with this pair of plates from a family’s inheritance.
From a decorative standpoint, I have seen whole rooms decorated around a Celadon presence, with pale green echoing the traditional Celadon shade in paints and fabrics.  Some American pottery manufacturers, Rookwood especially comes to mind, have emulated their Chinese colleagues in popularizing the classic pale green shade, now familiarly called “Celadon.”  This pair could serve as the nucleus of a whole new collection.
Happy antiquing!
Lisa and Henry Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy. 22570. (P.O. 35). Wicomico Church, VA 22570. Write to them there or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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