Napoleonic Sévres-Style Dish
Appraised Value: $50 - $80 (1997)
$50 - $80 (2011)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (2:55)
Pottery & Porcelain
Senior Vice President & International Specialist Head, European Ceramics and Glass
GUEST: My aunt bought the dish in Paris. She collected things with her initials on it. When she bought it, the antique dealer told her that it had once been owned by Napoleon, and he could tell that because it had bees on it. I've seen several references to Napoleon and his bees. It appeared to me to be rather crudely drawn. Of course, Napoleon was kind of a crude sort of a guy.
APPRAISER: When did your aunt buy it, do you know?
GUEST: Late '60s. I've been using it for asparagus.
APPRAISER: Fair enough. Some of what your aunt was told was correct, some of what your aunt was told was incorrect. The eagle over the "N" within the wreath and the gilt bees, they're emblems that one associates with the Napoleonic empire of France. The porcelain factory that was doing the best work then and did do a lot of work for Napoleon was the Sèvres factory, and they were named the imperial manufacturer to the court. There is a mark it is a crowned mark and it does say "M. Imple," which would be manufacture imperial. Unfortunately, this mark is not for the Sèvres factory and nor do I think that the piece has any connection with Napoleon himself.
APPRAISER: What it probably is, is a piece made in the 20th century by a French factory in Limoges. The large gilt crown that was part of that mark may very well be covering the actual manufacturer's mark for the porcelain itself and then it would have been decorated probably in Paris and with this totally spurious mark in terms of Napoleon's lifetime. You were right to think that the decoration on it was slightly crude. It may very well have been stenciled and then filled in with the gilding. It is basically almost tourist art in terms of trying to be connected in with the Napoleonic era. Very pretty, in excellent condition, not particularly valuable, and it may very well have been almost contemporary wit when your aunt purchased it.
GUEST: So I can still keep my asparagus plate?
APPRAISER: Absolutely keep your asparagus on it. Don't put it in the dishwasher or the condition of the gilding will be altered considerably.
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