Derby Topographical Tea Ware (Regency Period)

Value (2006) | $3,000 Auction

GUEST:
Someone had passed away and I was invited into the home, and, uh, the maid was sitting in the kitchen, and I talked to her a bit about the people that had lived there, although I didn't know them. And she mentioned that there's some lovely china up in the kitchen cabinet. So I asked if I could look at it, and they opened up the cabinet and lo and behold, this is what I found, and I said, "I'll buy it." And it wasn't quite for sale yet, but it was for sale by the time I got through.

APPRAISER:
Well, what we're looking at is a collection of painted English tea wares. This is oftentimes called a trio, because you've got a teapot, creamer, sugar. But in this case you have cups and saucers. What is important about this particular service is that each piece has a hand-painted scene right in the center here, okay. Beautifully done. Absolutely gorgeous. And you kind of have to understand a little bit of the context under which these porcelain wares came about. Now bear in mind that the British banned imports of Asian porcelain in the late 1790s. So the English had to ramp up some production to be able to say, hey, we can compete with them. We can paint porcelain really well. So that was when the Chamberlains company and this, which is Crown Derby, started really getting their production going, getting the best artists possible to paint and do these tea wares. This is really the best of what England had to produce in this time period, which is the Regency time period, round about 1815, 1820. Now, can't you just imagine wandering around these sort of bucolic landscapes? They're absolutely gorgeous, and a lot of these painters now are identified, but they didn't sign their works then. They were employed by the factories. So you had a great deal of research that goes on later to tell people how great these English porcelain artists were. Now, what is good about this, on the front, on each piece, is that you have the scene here, but what is--

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
--also really important in a condition perspective is that it's got the beautiful cobalt blue background here--

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
--and the gilding, which is in absolutely wonderful condition. It might have been that these only got used on the very most important special occasions. So they didn't see a lot of wear. And oftentimes when you stacked the dishes together, you'll get what's called stacking wear on the gilding. So you'll see wear to the gilding. You don't see that here. Now, on the back, you have what are the English titles. This is in Cumberland, and it has the Crown Derby mark.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And the fact that they're titled and they're not anonymous is really important. Anything that is titled like this is topographical in an actual scene. So that's also very much a plus to what it is. Now, we talked about the condition issues. And I wanted to point out one more thing here, and that is on the creamer. And if you notice here, it has these, what are called staple repairs.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And staple repairs are, to our eye today, very, very harsh repairs. But that was considered a very acceptable repair in the late 19th century; so we look at it now and say, "Hey, we can undo that and redo it." So it's still very good. You only brought--

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
--a representational set of what you have here, but I would say that what is on the table is probably worth around $3,000.

GUEST:
My goodness. Well, I have seven tea cups and eight coffee cups and eight deep saucers and a creamer and a tray and a teapot.

APPRAISER:
So you've got a lot of extra stuff.

GUEST:
Oh, I have quite a bit, but I didn't want to bring it all down.

APPRAISER:
Well, assuming that's all in good condition... It's all... And as I say, I'm not seeing that, I would say that this set together, at auction, would bring around $6,000.

GUEST:
Hmm.

APPRAISER:
Not a bad investment for $250.

GUEST:
No, but it wouldn't be for sale either. (both laughing)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Marvin & Whitehurst Appraisal Group
Stuart, Florida
Appraised value (2006)
$3,000 Auction
Event
Tucson, AZ (June 17, 2006)
Period
19th Century
Form
Tea Set
Material
Porcelain

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