19th-Century Old Paris Porcelain Garniture

Value (2005) | $5,000 Retail$7,000 Retail

GUEST:
I got them from my mother, who got them from her mother. I was told they were brought from Paris by a family member and then passed down in the family... And I was always told they're a set, but I question that.

APPRAISER:
Okay, well, first of all, we would call these Old Paris porcelain, and that's a very general term that's applied to many different types of porcelains that were made in and around Paris kind of throughout the 19th century. They're rather poorly marked, so it's hard to attribute them to a specific factory. These actually have different marks; they re really hard to see. This one here, there's some faintly impressed letters on the bottom.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And then this one has a faint scratched "W."

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And I don't know who these specific marks go to, but we do know that they're Parisian. Now, your question: is this a true set? Well, there's some differences about these that are interesting. First of all, if we look at the gilding decoration... This one has some color-- this was all done by hand, which is amazing work. And then we look at the decoration here, they don't match.

GUEST:
Right, I noticed that.

APPRAISER:
Also if we look at the decoration on some of the leafy-type things, like these here, and then we look at the ones here, we notice that these have a white line surrounding the leaf shape and the others do not. Also there's some other little difference about them, but there's a lot of similarities. First of all, the figures are all bisque, which is unglazed porcelain that was then hand-painted or hand-tinted, but the rest of the vases are all glazed and have a shiny finish. And that's a very unusual feature, to have a combination of bisque with a shiny finish. Another interesting feature is, they have hand-painted scenes on them. So I would feel confident that they were made by the same factory. They were just painted differently, but probably bought new to go together as a garniture. They're close enough that they should stay together as a garniture. I would say that these probably date somewhere between the 1840s to 1860s, maybe slightly newer than that. And this sort of thing was exported a lot to the United States from Paris, up through the East coast, but especially through the South. The South always loved French things, and so many French things came into the United States through New Orleans. So if you were...

GUEST:
Ironically, that's where part of the family's from.

APPRAISER:
These were incredibly expensive when they were new, and probably only very wealthy people would have bought them. Now, Old Paris porcelain-- we see a lot of this type of thing. It still survives quite a bit. But we rarely see pieces this big. And because of all these big leafy shapes and applied flowers, applied figures, they're almost always damaged and broken. Overall, we would say this is in good condition for Old Paris porcelain. Another thing is these garnitures were very popular, and usually, there's one or two pieces that are gone or broken. Or frequently, families would split up estates, so they rarely survived together. So despite minor problems with them, we believe that these are probably worth between $5,000 and $7,000 for the set.

GUEST:
Okay.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
David Lackey Antiques & Art
Houston, Texas
Appraised value (2005)
$5,000 Retail$7,000 Retail
Event
Houston, TX (July 16, 2005)
Period
19th Century
Material
Bisque

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