Pair of Paris Porcelain Urns, ca. 1820
Appraised Value: $15,000 - $25,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:41)
Books & Manuscripts, Decorative Arts, Furniture, Pottery & Porcelain, Silver
GUEST: As far as I know, they came from Europe. They were brought back by my ancestors sometime prior to 1835. I had an ancestor over there who was buying a lot of paintings and so on and so forth, and these are two of the items that he sent back to other relatives in this country in the Boston area. What I've always heard is that they're SËvres-- I guess you'd call them urns, not vases when they reach this size-- but I've always heard they were SËvres. Have never been able to prove that.
APPRAISER: Okay. And that's one of the things I'm curious about. Now, who told you they were SËvres?
GUEST: Some documentation when they appeared locally in the J.B. Speed Art Museum. And then also an appraisal that I had done about 25 years ago.
APPRAISER: Okay. There might be some evidence that would lead us down that line. Now, what we are talking about here are a pair of very large and very good French urns.
APPRAISER: And they are made in the early 19th century, around about 1810, 1820, probably closer to 1820. Now, during this time period, what's going on? The Napoleonic era is just ending; there's a great sense of the empire being out there. So there is a renewed interest in the classicism. If you notice, all the figures in the front here are in classical poses and in classical dress. And on the back here, you have a group of military trophies that you would expect to find. And also, which is really interesting, is you have this sort of two-tone gold to the side here. It's a mark of very, very nice quality, and the handles as well, which are beautifully molded. So you have two-tone gold, beautifully hand-painted scenes that are classical revival, but unfortunately, on the bottom, what do we have?
GUEST: We have no mark at all.
APPRAISER: That's right. And SËvres almost certainly would have been marked at this time period. So they're not SËvres.
APPRAISER: But that's okay. There are a number of very, very fine French porcelain makers in and around this time period, perhaps Darte or Nast, that did these urns here, because the painting is very, very good. You do see that there is a little bit of damage here. There's a couple of nicks to the gilding here and it's rubbed a little bit around the base here. Now, those are minor defects, but they will affect the value of it somewhat, and actually two of the handles have been restored.
GUEST: Oh, really?
APPRAISER: But they were done very well. Now, you did have them appraised at one point, right?
GUEST: I did.
APPRAISER: And that was...
GUEST: That was a while ago.
GUEST: A while ago. Yeah.
APPRAISER: And that was $3,500 at that point, so... At auction, I would expect this pair of urns to bring $15,000.
GUEST: Wow. Okay, that's great.
APPRAISER: But they're not going anywhere. If I were insuring these, I would put a value of $25,000 on them for insurance.
GUEST: I will call the agent in the morning. There you go. Believe me.
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