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Antiques Considered - May 27, 2009


A couple in Northumberland County have a pitcher collection, two of which they have pictured here.  The white one is English salt-glazed, and the yellow and green one is American majolica. Both are in good condition.  The white one is in a floral motif, and has an embossed, illegible mark on the bottom, and is ten inches high.  The corncob one, which is really a mug, rather than a pitcher, is unmarked, and is eight inches high.

The white salt-glazed one probably dates from the 1840s or 1850s, and is clearly Staffordshire.  Salt-glaze pottery is quite popular, and represents one of the high points of nineteenth-century artistry.  The design, mixing the Gothic Revival pointed arches entwined with ivy, is another manifestation of the return to medieval motifs that characterized the mid-Victorian period.


The salt in the glaze produces a dull, matte finish, which has a satin-like appearance.  As this pitcher was intended for use, the interior has a highly glazed finish.  This example is worth $150.  Should the mark be deciphered, the value might be significantly greater.
The majolica mug is typical of the late Victorian period of America decorative arts.   It dates from the end of the nineteenth century, and the painting of the corn kernels and cob leafing was done by hand.  Most likely, it comes from one of the many Ohio pottery factories, but being unmarked we cannot be certain in attributing it.  Given its excellent condition, it is worth $90.

Whenever I discuss pieces of glazed porcelain or pottery, such as these two fine examples, I like to remind the owners, and readers in general, that such items should not be used for serving food today.  A strong probability exists that the glazes contain lead, which if shipped and subsequently ingested, even in small particles, could cause serious health consequences.  These pieces can be wonderful for flowers, but do not use them for human consumption.
Happy Antiquing …

• Lisa  and Henry Lane Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont  Hwy. (P.O.Box 35) Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579, a firm which he founded in 1973.  The appraisal service began in 1976.  Write to him there, or by e-mail at comantqu @ crosslink.net, with pictures and descriptions of items you wish to have him treat in "Antiques Considered."  Please include a stamped, addressed envelope if you wish a personal acknowledgement.

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