1898 Porceleyne Fles Delft Plaque

Value (2005) | $2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction

This is Eliza Bass. She was the wife of an admiral for the Holland Navy. It's hung in my grandparents house ever since I was a little kid. I used to walk up the stairs to the landing, then make a left up another set of stairs, and her eyes were always looking right at you. It was, uh... In fact, as a little kid, I used to grab my mother and father's hand to get by her. And I used to think it was an old guy at first.

Well, it does look like an old man wearing women's clothes a little bit. How long has it been in the family? Do you know?

It's been there as far back as I can remember, and I just turned 52, so it's been at least that.

Okay. Do you know anything about it? Where it's from or how old it is?

It came from, I was told, a prominent doctor's estate out of Glens Falls, New York. And, uh, that's about all I know.

Okay. This is Delft pottery. Delft is a bit of a confusing term. It's not actually the name of a company, it's a city in Holland that has given its name to a whole group of pottery that's been made since the 17th century. There's lots of different companies that have made things over the years, and, so, to find out who made this, we would have to see the marks on the back. Now, this is screwed to the back. There's eight screws holding a big board on the back, so we couldn't see the marks. But, luckily, a family member of yours many years ago took off the back?


And they wrote down the marks. And they did a pretty good job here, so I was able to use these marks to identify what this piece is. By this mark here, we can tell that it was made by a company called "Porceleyne Fles," which is one of the Delft companies. And it's probably the most respected Delft company of the 19th and the 20th centuries. They make some of the best quality products. There's some Delft that is just junk, but this is very, very nice quality. There's another mark here, which is probably the cipher of the decorator, or the artist who actually painted this plaque. Now, I didn't have the reference material with me to really tell you who this artist was, but it could be looked up, and it would be interesting to find out who the artist was, how long they worked at the factory and so forth. And if I'm reading these marks correctly, this mark here, this "T." is a date mark that tells us that this piece was made in 1898. Now, it's a copy of a famous Rembrandt painting. They put "Rembrandt" here. It's just a portion of the painting; the actual painting is much larger, and included much more of the figure. And the original is hanging in the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands. Now, to do this on pottery he had to paint it, and they could only really use one color, and that's the traditional color that they normally use on Delft pottery. So the original painting, of course, was not blue. As a piece of Porceleyne Fles Delft well over 100 years old, great subject matter, done by a good artist, I would estimate that it's probably worth somewhere in the $1,500 to $2,500 range, because it's a really nice example. But this has an added bonus. It's got this wonderful, very high-quality carved wood frame. When it's got a really terrific frame like this, it would increase the value. So including the frame, I think it'd be worth more like $2,000 to $3,000.

Good. My fear was you were going to tell me where it was going to be so pricey I couldn't keep it hanging on my wall. Because it reminds me of my grandparent's house, and I want to keep it there.

Yeah, it's great memories. Unfortunately, it's not worth a million dollars, you can't retire on it, but it's just an interesting piece, really different, and not everyone on the block is going to have one just like you.

Good. Thank you.

Appraisal Details

David Lackey Antiques & Art
Houston, TX
Appraised value (2005)
$2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction
Providence, RI (June 18, 2005)
November 01, 2010: After this segment aired we received an e-mail correcting information erroneously given by appraiser David Lackey. As the viewer wrote, "The Elisabeth Bas painting is not produced by Rembrandt van Rijn but by his resident, Ferdinand Bol."

Lackey agrees, saying, "As noted in the appraisal, the plaque is actually incorrectly marked 'Rembrandt' on the front by the manufacturer, which made the mistake much easier to make. ... The incorrect Rembrandt mark has nothing to do with all the other important facts such as the age, maker, or value."

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