1898 Maria Longworth Storer Bronze Vase Base
I inherited it from my mother-in-law, who got it from a lady who said that it was from Louisiana. It was a crystal ball stand. There's moonstone and jade and agate and cat's-eye. They're all protective stones-- they all have a meaning.
It's really a very, very unusual piece and it's very, very rare. This is actually by Maria Longworth Storer. She was one of the founders of the Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati in the 1880s. And Rookwood went on to be one of the most prominent of the art pottery makers in the United States. Rookwood exhibited widely throughout the end of the 19th century and is in museums in this country as well as in Europe. And later in her life she started to do these bronzes. The piece you have here has this wonderful head of Medusa on it. It has snakes and has this octopus and it's actually signed here on the base "M.L.S." and it's dated '98. And what it is... it's actually the base for a vase. She also did the vases with wonderful iridescent and lustrous glazes on them. The piece itself was done in the lost-wax technique and what she did when she made this is she had a block of wax and she would have carved the piece out of wax. Then the piece itself was covered with a sort of... something called an "investment"-- it's almost like a plaster. Then they take it and they put it in the oven and bake it and the wax runs out of the mold. That's why it's called "lost wax." So the wax runs out of the mold and leaves this open space. Then they take the mold and they turn it upside down and they pour bronze into it. And the bronze falls into all the openings where the wax was, and that's what makes it unique because it's only made from that one wax carving. So this is a unique piece. Do you have any idea of the value of it?
No, I don't.
Well, just as the base to a vase and considering its rarity and the interest in Rookwood, it's probably worth between $3,000 and $5,000.
Oh, wow! All right, I like that.
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