Owens Pottery Portrait Vase
Appraised Value: $2,500 (1998)
$1,500 - $2,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (2:13)
Pottery & Porcelain
Rago Arts & Auction Center
GUEST: A neighbor of my father's gave it to him in 1970, and my mother didn't like it, so my father gave it to me, and I've enjoyed it ever since.
APPRAISER: Well, let me tell you a few things about it. One of the most famous potteries made in America was the Rookwood pottery from Cincinnati, Ohio. And they were so famous that many people tried to copy what they did and capitalize on their success. And one of the more popular glazes that Rookwood produced late part of the 19th century was their standard brown glaze. And it was a brown coating that covered flowers and portraits and all sorts of designs. And neighboring Zanesville, Ohio, about 90 miles away, had a number of companies that were copying work done by Rookwood. There's Weller and Roseville, and this is an example of the Owens Pottery Company, made in Zanesville, Ohio. It's not only just a portrait, which would be rare enough. But as you can see, there's actually a scene on the front of a monk. It's more than a bust, it's a half-body. He's got some objects in his hand, there's a lot going on here. Furthermore, the artist on this piece, who was Arthur Williams, is probably the best portrait painter that Zanesville had. He also worked for Roseville. I don't think he worked for Weller. They were sort of an incestuous group. They went from company to company. But Williams was regarded as the best portrait painter in Zanesville, most lifelike, and very seldom will you see an Owens portrait done by Arthur Williams. There are some things I want to point out that make this second-level. For example, this manufacturing flaw over here. You won't see that on a piece of Rookwood. They would have Xed it. Okay, also on the inside right up here, there is...see the drip inside there? Also typical of a ware that is less expensive when it was made. I will show the mark for one second here to show you. It says Owens and Utopian dye-stamped into the bottom of the pot, which is their name for their brown glaze ware. So while worth less than it would be if it were a piece of Rookwood, it still has a fair amount of value on today's market. The condition, by the way, is excellent. Really perfect, original condition. I would clean it up. I'd say it's worth about $2,500, reasonably.
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