1900 Della Robbia Arts & Crafts Vase
Appraised Value: $3,500 - $4,500
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:46)
Pottery & Porcelain
Rago Arts & Auction Center
APPRAISER: So you bought this in Europe?
GUEST: I did, in England. My sister had an antique shop in Cambridge, and they sold mostly Georgian antiques, but occasionally had other things.
APPRAISER: How long ago did you buy this?
GUEST: Between 25 and 30 years ago.
APPRAISER: What would you like to know about this piece?
GUEST: I'm curious about the EMW signature on the bottom.
GUEST: And the number 16, if that means it's, you know, 16th in an edition.
APPRAISER: Okay, well, we'll look at the bottom in just a minute. I'm going to tell you a few things about what's happening on the surface first. It's a beautiful piece of English Arts and Crafts-era ceramic. Decorated top to bottom, all the way around, and this piece has so many different influences and ideas manifest in one object at one time. European Arts and Crafts movement, Medieval Guild, Renaissance Revival, even a little bit of socialism is manifested in this piece.
APPRAISER: So there's a lot going on here. It's actually dated in 1900. That's one of the numbers on the bottom. We could see that it's dated right here. The initials you asked about, EMW, that would be the artist's signature. I've not been able to find out who that artist is. But that's the artist's signature. This is the Della Robbia mark, so we know it's the Della Robbia Company from Cheshire, which was in operation from 1884 until 1901. So this was made shortly before they went out of business. And the number 16, which my guess is a shape number, probably refers... This blank is probably the number 16 blank. It's a molded piece, and they would have used it with different designs.
GUEST: With a mold?
APPRAISER: Yeah, it is a molded pot. But they are all one of a kind. This technique is called sgraffito, that's S-G-R-A-F-F-I-T-O, which means that they've gotten a sharp tool and cut into the clay so that the color-- if you look in the leaves, for example, the blue leaves-- the red clay shows through.
APPRAISER: That's what sgraffito does. It reveals the clay underneath, and then covered with an enamel. So this piece, in addition to having a very beautiful, florid, decorative style in the Arts and Crafts technique is also somewhat Art Nouveau influenced.
APPRAISER: There's so much happening here. This does have a little bit of damage. It's got a chip in the front. It's got some scraping to the enamel on the handle as well. It's got some glaze scraping. That's going to keep the price down a little bit, but at auction I would evaluate the piece at between $3,500 and $4,500.
APPRAISER: Without the damage, it would be more like $5,000 to $7,000.
GUEST: Wow. Can it be repaired?
APPRAISER: This one I'd repair. I don't like to get pots repaired often, but this is such a great piece. I mean, it's really over the top. You're probably looking at about a $250 to $300 repair. And I don't know that that will increase the value by more than $250 to $300, but it'll make the piece, uh, relatively blight free and I think it warrants that.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.