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Antiques Considered - August 28, 2013

The owners of this creamer and lidded saucer have asked about its origin and the signature on the bottom of each piece.  They live in the Northern Neck and have owned the items for several generations.  The pieces are marked “KPM” and signed with the name of an English decorator, who put “1922” below her name.

KPM stands for the Royal or King’s Porcelain Manufacturer in Berlin, Germany, which King Frederick II of Prussia founded in 1763.  At the time he wanted Prussia to excel in all areas, and hoped to produce the finest porcelain in the world.  Three factories operated under the KPM umbrella.  Frederick was not only the founder, but perhaps the best customer, as he filled his palaces with the finest of the KPM pieces.

 KPM pieces are marked, and at times signed as well.  In this case the signature is of the artist, probably an American Lady, who decorated the blanks that came from the KPM factory.  The date 1922 date refers to the time that she painted the pieces.  I use the pronoun “she” inasmuch as this creamer and sugar are typical of the work of ladies’ painting circles of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Painting, sewing, and quilting were popular pastimes for ladies who were otherwise unemployed in professional work.  Circles met, usually once a week, sometimes with a teacher, and the members enjoyed painting oils, watercolors and porcelain.  Their works remain quite plentiful.  Most of the blanks were from the various Limoges factories of France, but KPM provided them also, as did factories in Austria and England.

Due to the great abundance of such pieces, the values are not particularly high.  This pair are worth $60., and are of greater interest both for the date that documents them as being from the onset of the Art Deco movement.  They are nice examples of their genre, reflections of a time when Ladies had more leisure on their hands. Happy Antiquing!

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