January 09, 2013

Cataloging like crazy!

It's coming close to our 2013 exhibition, where we will release our 2013 catalogue (some time late February). There are a few hundred choice pieces of antique pottery and porcelain to research, so very busy times.

We have had some excellent James Giles decorated pieces in recent years. Giles was a London porcelain decorator from the 1750's into the 1770's. His wares were expensive back when they were commissioned, and have remained desirable and rare, meaning expensive. Some recent publications and exhibitions have increased the interest in his work, and I have always kept my eye out for examples.

When I found this Worcester bowl, I instantly though of Giles. The colours are so bright, the flowers so vibrant- not something typical of the factory decorated flowers.

When I looked at the mark, I was convinced: it has a mock Meissen mark of crossed swords, along with a 9. This mark is often seen on James Giles pieces of Worcester porcelain. In the older books, you will see this mark as a Giles characteristic - almost as if he ordered his pieces from the Worcester factory with this mark- a blatant attempt to pass the ceramics off as Meissen!

So I thought I had found a rare James Giles decorated piece. How wrong I was.

This was what I had in mind- Meissen style flowers by Giles, these examples painted into Chinese porcelain. The 2008 catalogue & exhibition by Stephen Hanscombe has many examples of this type of decoration. But as I went through them, my unease grew: the Giles pieces were all very close to each other- and didn't share enough characteristics with my bowl.

These rosebuds were one feature. None appear in published Giles pieces, yet they do appear on Worcester factory pieces.

This teapot, and the sucrier below, are factory decorated, and bear a close resemblance to my bowl. The bowl is not Giles decorated, but Worcester original decoration. The crossed swords mark, used 1765-75, was obviously not a definitive Giles feature, but occurs on Giles pieces by chance. The fact that it appears here on a Meissen style piece is particularly ironic!

Above is a blue flower from the Worcester bowl; below is an example from a Meissen cup & saucer, circa 1745 (also in the 2013 exhibition at Moorabool Antiques). This shows clearly the direct influence of Meissen on Worcester in the 1760's.