1903 Rookwood Silver-Overlay Vase

Value (2012) | $1,750$2,250

This piece belonged to my grandmother, and then she gave it to my mother. And as a child, I used to sit and hold this piece. I thought it was just really beautiful. I loved the color of it. And then my mother gave it to me.

And you've been taking care of it ever since.

Yes, I have.

Rookwood was the finest of the finest of the hand-painted potteries in America. Really world-class pottery. And everything they did was first class, and this piece is no exception. It's a piece of silver overlay. The silver was not done by Rookwood, but it was contracted by Rookwood from the Gorham Silver Company, which was one of the major silver manufacturers in America. The mark on the side, right over here, is the Gorham Silver Company mark, the anchor mark. This is typical of the later silver overlay. The date on this piece, 1903. And it's a little later for standard glaze Rookwood, which this is, and for silver overlay, which this is. They were doing it about 10, 12 years earlier than this, and so the later pieces did not have quite the same intricacy that the earlier pieces of Rookwood had. For example, the engraving on the silver. If you were to look at an earlier Gorham piece with engraving, first of all, the silver itself would be more floriform and more curvilinear, very dynamic. It would engage and embrace the surface of the pot. This is a little flatter. It's banded, it's more static, you might say. And the engraving similarly is very rectilinear, very straight. It's not quite so florid, is the word I would use. It's worth mentioning that the piece is decorated by Leona Van Briggle, who is the sister of the famous Artus Van Briggle, one of the most famous decorators the company had, who later went on to form his own company. And one other nice thing about this pot: Rookwood crazes. Now, a lot of people think crazing happens after the manufacturing, and that's when these little crackles are through the glaze. And it doesn't happen after the manufacture; it's when the piece is fired in the kiln. And that is significant on a piece of silver overlay because they put it in an electroplate bath. And furthermore, people clean it over the years. And this tarnishing, the solution and the tarnish get into the crazing and give it a spider webbed effect. This one has none of that because there's no crazing on it. So it's retained this really crisp, beautiful appearance to it. So all that being said, that's a lot of information, but it's a lovely piece, and it's worth $1,500 to $2,000.

Oh, that's great. Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Update (2012)
Appraised value (1998)
Hartford, CT (August 22, 1998)

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