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Rarity in Miniature: micro-carved Ivory Rococo scene, c.1795

Micro-carved ivory plaque,

Micro-carving describes the feat of creating miniature artworks, with the favourite material being ivory due to its compact nature which carves easily and displays well. Set against the burgundy silk, this example is a splendid example of the technique.

Stephany and Dresch attributed micro carved ivory plaque, circa 1795, Moorabool Antiques Geelong
Stephany and Dresch attributed micro carved ivory plaque, circa 1795, Moorabool Antiques Geelong

The technique is very reminiscent of the contrasting ceramic reliefs made famous by Wedgwood’s Jasperwares, and of the carved shell cameos with similar contrast. However, this ivory carving was magnitudes  harder to achieve; the carving is independent of any support until it is attached to the backing. This piece consists of small number of pieces mounted together, with a separate roundel border. In order to lighten the appearance of the urn and its plinth, they have cut out straight lines, with several together only measuring a millimetre – some features such as the stems of the roses in the border garland are the thickness of a hair!

Stephany and Dresch attributed micro carved ivory plaque, circa 1795, Moorabool Antiques Geelong
Stephany and Dresch (attributed) micro-carved ivory plaque, circa 1795.

Some of the best of the Georgian era were Continental emigrés, G Stephany and J Dresch. They established themselves in Bath and London, catering for the wealthy clients who were after miniature novelties for their snuffbox collections, or pieces of jewellery, or framed works suitable for a cabinet or wall.

Stephany and Dresch attributed micro carved ivory plaque, circa 1795, Moorabool Antiques Geelong
Stephany and Dresch attributed micro carved ivory plaque, circa 1795, Moorabool Antiques Geelong

They promoted themselves as  ‘…the most eminent sculptors in ivory in Europe who will execute any design for Rings, Bracelets, Lockets, or for Cabinet pieces’. Their work was ‘so fine that a glass is necessary to discover its beauties’. They exhibited a number of times at the Royal Academy, and were presented with a Royal Warrant by George III, titled ‘Sculptors in Miniature on Ivory to their Majesties’. The Royal Collection still has three pieces, portrait profiles of George III, Queen Charlotte, and the Princess Royal, Charlotte.

This superb micro-carved plaque is quite possibly by this premium English firm, or a Continental carver of similar talent.

An example in the Bath Museum:

'Grand Tour' fan, Views of Rome, Italian c.1785
‘Grand Tour’ fan, Views of Rome, Italian c.1785
micro carved ivory Grand Tour fan, Italian c.1785 at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong, Australia

A sensational example of micro-carved ivory can be seen on this Neapolitan ‘Grand Tour’ fan of the 1780’s. It depicts a French-style Rococo ‘folly’, and shows great skill in keeping the sticks strong enough to still stand up to usage.

See this item here >>

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A Salviati Aventurine Centerpiece

Salviati Murano Venetian glass centrepiece with dolphins, Aventurine, circa 1880
Antonio Salviati 1816-90

This flamboyant piece of glass is – believe it or not – Italian! Actually a stunning example of an interesting period in the development of the ‘Murano Glass’ we are familiar with, it dates to the later 19th century years when the revival of the Italian artworks was just beginning. It comes from the workshop of Antonio Salviati (1816-1890), who paired up with an English archaeologist, Sir Austen H. Layard, M.P. (1817-94).

Layard is an interesting character. While considered ‘English’ (sitting in British Government 1852-69), he was raised in Italy, buying a palazzo and living there – but is best known for his travels through Persia in the 1840’s, which resulted in identification and the first excavations in Nineveh, Nimrud, and Babylon. His discoveries form the greater part of the collection in the British Museum. While he was in Venice, he collected early glass and artworks, and came to befriend Salviati – after which they formed a company with one ambition, to revive the golden-days of Venetian glasswork.

ints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details- Charles Locke Eastlake 1868 - Murano Salviati Glass
Illustration depicting ‘Modern Glass’, 1868 book by Charles Lock Eastlake, 1868 -‘Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details’- Charles Locke Eastlake 1868 – Murano Salviati Glass’

The result of this partnership was remarkable. Venetian glass making had stagnated, but they were able to kick-start it again in the later 19th century. They did this by looking backwards to the magnificent original Venetian creations of the 16th and 17th centuries – but as many of the techniques had not been used for generations, they found themselves re-inventing the sometimes very complex recipes from scratch.

Copper Aventurine glass from the Salviati workshop, Venice, later 19th century

This centerpiece is ‘Aventurine’, designed to simulate the semiprecious stone by the same name. It was developed in Venice, with legend of glass-making monks accidentally putting copper shavings into molten glass; however, an early 17th century date is now considered the first production of this glass type.
It involves a mixture of copper, iron, and tin oxides, introduced into the glass mixture, which is then fired in a reducing low-oxygen kiln, causing them to form compact crystalline clumps which reflect the light in their unique manner.  The new glass structure with the glitter effect is not stable and would deteriorate rapidly in the air, but a method of enclosing it in a layer of clear glass ensures it is preserved.

This large piece was sourced in Melbourne, and may have been here all of its life. The National Gallery of Victoria has a magnificent collection of Venetian 19th century glass, acquired in its early years, with a group of ‘modern’ glass selected for them by Antonio Salviati himself in 1874. When Melbourne hosted the massive 1880-1 International Exhibition, there was a splendid display of Murano glass, with many pieces ending up in the Gallery’s collection where they remain to this day. The Italian glass was highly popular with the Victorians- it was noted for its ‘ethereality’, and ‘might as well be called gossamer glass’ ! It was of course all products of Salviati’s company, the ‘Compagnia Venezia-Murano‘, and it won the highest prize, a gold medal indicating the First Order of Merit.

German/Austrian glass appears in this 1880 International Exhibition photo in the background, while the cuttings from the reports of the time describe the Italian glass display, and their ‘recent revival’. Speaking in general of the exhibits, the special correspondent states “It is to be hoped they will all remain in Australia to guide and emulate our young glass-workers”.
1880 Melbourne InternationalExhibition-Ceramics+Glass
A general view across part of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition, showing masses of Ceramics+Glass – mostly British in this view. No photo of the Italian Glass has been found – yet.
First prize, Gold Medal awarded to ‘Compagnia Venezia-Murano

After the exhibition closed in 1881, 130 pieces were purchased for the Gallery. At the same time, the impressive wealth in Melbourne meant the top-end department stores were also offering these luxury products for sale.

Moorabool is very pleased to offer this remarkable large & early piece of Venetian Glass.

Not Melbourne, but the 1881 display in Milan’s ‘Exposition’ where Salviati once again took out top-prize for their glass. The background is an example of the mosaics they were producing.

In the Met Museum NY is this design for a similar centrepiece, note the gold inclusions. From a book of designs from Salviati’s “Compagnia Venezia-Murano”, dating to 1870’s-80’s.

Some more interesting connections, including designs from a design book at the Met Museum, New York.

In the Met Museum NY is this design for a similar bottle, note the two options: ‘for water’ (no stopper?) and ‘for wine’. From a book of designs from Salviati’s “Compagnia Venezia-Murano”, dating to 1870’s-80’s.
An early Salviati glass flask, in the Rosenberg Collection, Geelong
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A Tournai Sauceboat

Tournai Sauceboat c.1770

This extraordinary example of Tournai porcelain shows the quality they were able to produce.

Tournai Sauceboat c.1770
Tournai Sauceboat c.1770

Dating to circa 1770, the elegant form with robust yet stylish handle, and boat-shaped stand, is a premonition of the Neoclassical simplicity which comes to dominate French design in the last decades of the 18th century. While this aspect looks forward, the decoration is the opposite. It is taken from a print published mid 18th century, after a painting by Francois Boucher, and is the essence of the Rococo style.

The mark is always misunderstood: ‘crossed swords are Meissen’ is the usual assessment, however this piece is clearly soft-paste porcelain, not the hard-paste of Meissen. As a vast number of other makers ‘borrowed’ crossed swords, it is easily attributed to one of these fraudulent makers, like Samson of Paris.
However…. this mark is well documented on Tournai porcelain. In the underglaze blue & white products, it is not uncommon. Gold on glaze is rare, but does appear on their better decorated pieces, suggesting it was a mark for their ‘premier products’.

There is a single example in public collections, not published in the literature. This is a sauceboat in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (id=#1968-172-1) , documented on their website. It lacks the stand, but has the same lavish decoration – with a few variations.

A stunning recent discovery shows Tournai porcelain at its best - a Sauceboat & Stand with Cherubs after Boucher, c. 1770
In the fore is our example; the back shows the Philadelphia Museum’s slight variation.
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Conductor’s Batons

Any conductor needs a few batons – and Moorabool has a few of these rarities ‘fresh to stock’.

They include three with inscriptions – some fascinating records of social history, one just a baffling enigma.

Antique Conductor's Batons - Moorabool Antiques Geelong

Perhaps you’re needing a baton for your Amateur Orchestra – like ‘Professor’ Arthur Hardeman? He was the recipient of a magnificent ebony example with silver mounts including an inscription winding its way down the shaft on a long silver ribbon: “Presented to Professor Arthur J Hardeman by members of the Richmond Amateur Orchestra as a Token of Esteem, 1897” .

Hardeman was a Melbourne musician, son of a Pianoforte dealer, and seems to have made his living giving lessons and performing with his ‘orchestra’. They gave him this magnificent Melbourne-made baton in 1897… as outlined in the newspaper article of the time:

Professor Hardeman's Presentation Baton, 1897
Professor Hardeman’s Presentation Baton, 1897
The City Of Richmond Coffee Palace, 232-234 Bridge Road, Richmond, constructed 1888

There’s a wealth of social history to be explored on this subject, including the untold story of the ‘City of Richmond Coffee Palace’, and ‘Professor’ Hardeman’s interesting background.

Read more about the baton & the presentation in our special blogpost on this piece >>

There are several other batons also, all fresh to stock – quite a collection. The other definite Australian example is also ebony, and has a presentation inscription also: “Pres’ted to E. Sage Esquire, by the members of St John’s Presbyterian Choir, as a mark of esteem, 26/07/01”.

E. Sage's Presentation Baton, Ballarat, 1901
E. Sage’s Presentation Baton, Ballarat, 1901
E. Sage's Presentation Baton, Ballarat, 1901
E. Sage’s Presentation Baton, Ballarat, 1901

E. Sage was a Ballarat identity, very active in the musical entertainment world from the 1890’s. He taught piano and voice in Ballarat, and helped form a musical group, called the ‘Curlew Orchestra’, for the ‘purpose of promoting the study of instrumental music and the entertainment of the inmates of the charitable institutions, and generally assisting by concerts in aid of worthy objects’.

Sage, StJohns Choir, Ballarat Star July 1905

In 1902, for example, there’s a report of an event he presided over: “The members of St John’s Presbyterian choir visited the Orphan Asylum last night, and gave the children an evening’s entertainment. Mr D. N. McLean presided, and in a few happy phrases introduced the performers, and told the children that the public of Ballarat were greatly interested in them, and would be especially glad to see the Asylum band making progress….”

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE American silver & Walnut Baton
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE American silver & walnut conductor’s baton

Another rather puzzling baton has a cryptic message: RUN FOR YOU LIFE ….. is engraved onto the end. This example is American Silver, by Reed & Barton. It dates to the 1910-20 period – but nothing turns up valid to a musical origin when you look for the words inscribed. Maybe someone has an idea of what ‘RUN FOR YOUR LIFE’ might be relating to?
Let us know, if you do!

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE - American Reed & Barton silver mounted baton, c. 1920
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE – American Reed & Barton silver mounted baton, c. 1920
Antique Ebony Conductor's Baton
Antique Ebony Conductor’s Baton

The final one is just a nice baton, no inscriptions. It has a ribbed body, making it much easier to hold. All we need is an orchestra to try it out on……

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Australiana Discovery: a Conductors Presentation Baton & the untold story of ‘The Richmond Coffee Palace’

Australian Silver presentation conductor's baton, Hardeman, Richmond Amateur Orchestra 1897

While the vast majority of Victorian items we see are perfectly anonymous, once in a while we find a piece with an inscription or dedication; thanks to the excellent free resource that is Trove Australia, we can use such information as names, places & dates to find the original Newspaper reports of the events for which it was engraved.

A recent piece of local history which fits this scenario is a beautiful ebony & silver conductor’s baton, in original leather-clad case.

Australian Silver presentation conductor's baton, Hardeman, Richmond Amateur Orchestra 1897
“Token of Esteem – Dec. 22nd 1897”

Arthur J Hardeman was born in Birmingham in 1864. One of five siblings, his father is listed in the 1881 census as living in Rudlan (Flint), Wales, occupation ‘Piano Forte Dealer’. In 1884, the whole family migrated to Australia on board the ‘Melanope’, still listed as a ‘Piano Forte Dealer’. The family lived in Richmond.
Arthur set about becoming a teacher, advertising lessons from the Eastern Arcade in the city in 1886. He also advertised classes in Geelong, although he is still listed as living in Richmond.

He also had an idea of forming a musical group, advertising in the Age in January 1886: “AMATEURS.— Wanted. String Band, Pianist, Trombone, E flat bass, side Drum. Hardeman, Age office.”

The Richmond Amateur Orchestra’s first performance, October 10, 1894

The ‘Richmond Amateur Orchestra’ was formed in 1894 by a group of 25 local musicians under Arthur J Hardeman.
Their first performance was on the 10th October, 1894, a Wednesday evening performance of ‘Jo Smith’s play “Drifting” ‘.

By 1897, the year this baton was purchased & presented to Arthur, there were 30 in the group. They provided music for numerous stage performances, as well as musical interludes for other stage shows.

1897 Australian Silver mounted conductor's baton, Hardeman, Richmond Orchestra

The ebony is a luxury imported wood; the silver-work is not hallmarked but appears to be silver – the engraved maiden-hair ferns and inscription show the same metal throughout. It would have been made by one of the numerous Melbourne silversmiths, housed in a handsome silk-lined leather presentation box, and custom engraved for the musicians of ‘Professor’ Hardeman’s musical group in time for them to present it to him a few days before Christmas, 1897.


The event is recorded in the “Richmond Guardian” newspaper, Friday 24th December 1897:

“A very pleasant invitation social was given by the Richmond Amateur Orchestra to Mr and Mrs Arthur J. Hardeman at the Richmond Coffee Palace on Wednesday evening, 22nd inst. There was a large attendance, and the evening was a most pleasing one. Mr W. Spangler, on behalf of the members, presented their conductor, Mr Arthur J. Hardeman, with a handsome silver-mounted baton, in a morocco ease, and beautifully engraved., with inscription, Mr Spangler spoke in high terms of the worthy recipient, whom he hoped would be spared many years to employ the baton with his wonted musical skill. Mr Hardeman acknowledged the compliment paid to him in graceful and cordial terms. A capital programme of orchestral, instrumental and vocal items was gone through in a highly efficient manner, and dancing was indulged in later on. Mr Lee Murray acted as M.C. Great credit is due to the managers, Messrs LeBoeuf Bros, and A. Moorehead. The catering was carried out in an efficient manner by Mrs Coles.”

Presentation of the Hardeman Baton, 1897

Moorabool is very pleased to offer this fascinating piece of social history.
There’s also some interesting research below on the ‘City of Richmond Coffee Palace’, an undocumented piece of Melbourne’s history which we have unearthed in the process of researching this baton.

The City of Richmond Coffee Palace was a briefly popular entertainment venue. ‘Coffee Palaces’ were extremely popular in the boomtown days of late Victorian Melbourne, being an alternative to the pub -only more family friendly, without the alcohol. The ‘City of Richmond Coffee Palace’ was established with the funds of public shareholders in 1888 – but just 3 years later found itself in trouble, running at a loss. A ‘stormy’ public meeting was held in 1892, addressing concerns of profitability; the idea was controversially put forward to apply for a liquor license to make some money; naturally, the core of Temperance share-holders were outraged! It was wound-up as a share company in 1892, a director pinning the blame on the Bank of Victoria, which had raised the interest rate on the loan the company had from 6 to 8 %…… and a liquor license secured. It was still known as the ‘Richmond Coffee Palace’, but you could get a little bit of something else mixed into your coffee!

It was in this entertainment complex the party was held and this baton presented. It’s a fascinating piece of Melbourne’s history.

The City Of Richmond Coffee Palace, 232-234 Bridge Road, Richmond, constructed 1888
The City Of Richmond Coffee Palace, 232-234 Bridge Road, Richmond, constructed 1888. This is not documented elsewhere.
  • The City Of Richmond Coffee Palace, view in Swan Street today
  • The City Of Richmond Coffee Palace
  • Richmond Coffee Palace opens, 4th August 1888
  • The End of the 'Coffee Palace' concept, Newspaper report 1893
  • Australian Silver presentation conductor's baton, Hardeman, Richmond Amateur Orchestra 1897
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Fresh Stock: Arts & Crafts, Ida R. Outhwaite fairy, WMF, + More…

Welcome to the latest offerings from Moorabool Antiques.

Fresh to stock is a wonderful selection of Furniture, Silver, Pewter, Ceramics & Pottery with one thing in common….. they belong to the fertile artistic period in the late 19th/early 20th century, where styles such as the Pre-Raphaelites, the Arts & Crafts, the Art Nouveau, and the more ‘Modernist’ designs all found their roots.

Fire-screen containing an actual lyre bird’s tail between glass, circa 1900 – ex-Moorabool Antiques stock.

In Australia, the period saw a flourishing group of artists exploring the rest ideas from Europe, but giving them an Australian meaning. The elaborate Art-Nouveau style of the ‘throne chair’ in today’s Fresh Stock is a fine example: made from Australian hardwood, the remarkable design is a complete departure from the Victorian tradition of how a chair should look. The tall, skinny back is rather distinct, taking on the form of a lyre bird’s tail.

Australian Hardwood Art Nouveau chair, Lyre-bird back, c. 1910
Australian Hardwood Art Nouveau chair, Lyre-bird back, c. 1910

One of the highlights of this year is the watercolour recently identified amongst the many paintings in the collection of the late John Rosenberg. It’s an Ida Rentoul Outhwaite fairy, familiar from the many children’s books she illustrated in the 1920’s-30’s. While her style is borrowing from the overseas greats of book illustration of the time – Beardsley, Rackham and Greenaways – she invents an endless contrast to anything else produced prior by incorporating the Flora & Fauna of Australia.
(This example is not the best to illustrate this theme, as it has nothing Australian in it – the Blackberry being an introduced pest, and therefore also its attendant fairy!)

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite original watercolour, c.1933 at Moorabool Antiques
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite original watercolour, c.1933 at Moorabool Antiques
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite's 'Blackberry Fairy' from 'A bunch of wildflowers' 1933 - with original signed sketch
Spot the Difference!

While many of these are now broken up for their prints, this example isn’t a print: it’s an original pencil sketch, which has been coloured with watercolours & finished with her signature black ink outline and details. It is a prototype sketch for the illustration of ‘The Blackberry Fairy’, one of 6 colour prints included in her 1933 publication ‘A Bunch of Wildflowers’. It was badly framed in such a way that the signature – her initials ‘I.R.A.’ – were covered by the mount! Taking it off & discovering the printed version was quite a thrill: note the differences between our version and the printed version, indicating there must be another with the different details out there, from which the print for the book was made.

Henry Wilkinson and Co, 1892
Silverplate jug showing Christopher Dresser influence, Henry Wilkinson and Co, made in 1892. This precise date is possible as the hallmark was only registered that year – and they also sold out & therefore ceased to use it the same year!

The greatest of the Art & Crafts ‘influencers’ was Dr Christopher Dresser. His design philosophy was radical in the Victorian world, which by the 1870’s was stagnating, repeating earlier designs in ever-more complex convulsions of rococo scrolls and classical columns. Instead, he looked to the East – being the first European to be granted a travel passport in Japan in the 1870’s, where he travelled from end to end, examining Japanese crafts and then bringing the simplicity and elegance of good design back to England. He spent a huge amount of effort influencing manufacturers to create elegant, useful wares. In today’s fresh stock are a number of pieces that look like they should be made well into the 20th century – but are in fact 19th century products. Dresser freely distributed his designs, and published a number of books on the subject; many potters and metal workers used these designs as they caught the attention of the ‘hip-crowd’ of the late 19th century. He was the ‘Social Media Influencer’ of his time!

Pair of Christopher Dresser candlesticks, designed & made 1885, probably by Benham & Froud for the Art Furnishers' Alliance, London.
Pair of Christopher Dresser candlesticks, designed & made 1885, probably by Benham & Froud for the Art Furnishers’ Alliance, London.
Designs of Dr Christopher Dresser, from his account book for Linthorpe Art Pottery, 1881. Now in the Getty, LA.
Designs of Dr Christopher Dresser, from his account book for Linthorpe Art Pottery, 1881. Now in the Getty, LA.
A case of mistaken identity…. this piece looks a lot like a famous Dresser design, and the craftsmanship is very similar to makers of Dresser pieces such as Benham & Froud – however, it is an industrial item, being an oil can from a canal boat!
This reflects Dresser’s own philosophy very closely: form follows function: the broad base is stable in choppy seas, and the form is simple for a metal worker to create from flat sheets. The handle angle ensures steady flow of the contents, in all a very well designed piece, created by a practical industrial mind – just no Christopher Dresser’s.
Arts & Crafts vase, Hutton
Arts & Crafts Pewter vase, by W. Hutton, Sheffield, c.1905. The inset ceramic plaques are possibly from the Ruskin Pottery in Staffordshire, known to have provided similar pieces to other manufacturers. The design is very similar to those of Archibald Knox, at the same period, circa 1905.
WMF Jugendstil candlestick, circa 1900
WMF (Germany) Jugendstil candlestick, circa 1900

On the Continent, the Arts & Crafts movement took its own direction. In Germany, the Jugendstil , literally translating as ‘Youth Style’, produced some remarkable objects that still appeal to the modern eye due to their ‘sophisticated simplicity’.
The candlestick shown here is WMF, circa 1900, and retains the rare original patinated finish. It has a style that could date to anywhere in the 20th century, but was actually conceived in the last years of the 19th – remarkable.

On a different trajectory was the French designs we know as ‘Art Nouveau’. This style borrowed from the preceding Rococo style, with organic forms that appear to grow – but took it to new extremes.

WMF Art Nouveau waternymph claret jug, circa 1900
WMF Art Nouveau waternymph claret jug, circa 1900

Also by WMF is this remarkable claret jug. The very tall, skinny sea-green glass vessel is encased & protected by a flowing stream around the foot, from which emerge water-nymphs: the ‘waves’ are actually their long flowing hair. An organic handle that looks like it grew rises up to the pewter mouth, with a beautiful spray of flowers moulded in the round within the protected elbow.

It’s a splendid example of Art Nouveau at its best.

Pre-Raphaelite wall hanging, circa 1880
Pre-Raphaelite wall hanging, circa 1880

This large wall hanging is an example of anther closely related style of the period, the Pre-Raphaelites. Formed by mostly painters who sought to break away from the genre painting of the Victorian era, instead of looking for something new, they looked back – deciding that anything from Raphael onwards was not worth looking at, but the earlier artists were more valuable as as influence. This beauty depicted here in watercolour on a heavy fabric (probably upholstery fabric) is a fine example of the ideal; she is splendidly dressed in middle-ages clothing, and holds a book in one hand showing her intellect. Behind her is a landscape containing trees and a distant town amongst hills – the whole very reminiscent of the actual tapestry weavings of William Morris and his wife, May. While this example is ‘only painted’, it is very well done – the paints would have soaked into the fabric quickly, and great skill is shown in the control and tonal variation achieved. It is in fact a cross-over from the Textile Arts to the Fine Arts of painting – unfortunately not signed, but by a very competent artist.
Presently unframed, it was once stretched on a wooden stretcher. It would be fine as a wall hanging as-is (if kept in a dark place) – or to fully respect it, we can have it framed in a UV-resisting glass frame to preserve it for the future.

Please enjoy all the other unmentioned pieces shown below!

Fresh Stock

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A Chinoiserie jug by Thomas Drewry & Son, Lane End, Staffordshire, 1818-30.

Drewry & Son, Lane End, London Shape jug, pattern 65, marked 'D' in sunburst, at Moorabool Antiques, Australia

An interesting rarity has just been unearthed at Moorabool.

Godden in his ‘Staffordshire Porcelain’ is the initial source of attribution, using the style of piece & pattern to date it to the 1820’s, and then refine it down to two possible makers with ‘D’ surnames. Drewry- also spelt Drewery – is the most likely of the two, in his opinion. They are recorded in the directories 1818, and disappear after the 1830 publication. Godden illustrates the London-shape teapot with the same pattern and ‘D’ mark on p415. Distinct to this maker (apparently not found elsewhere) is the plain handle form, without a spur on the inside towards the bottom; also distinct is the handle wrapping down the body and terminating by touching the actual foot of the jug.

Hilditch Porcelain Chinoiserie patterns, from 'Hilditch Porcelain - A Collector's Guide' by Margaret Hewat & June M. Owen

A selection of similar patterns, made by the Hilditch firm. These are identified by marked examples, set out in a 2003 publication, ‘Hilditch Porcelain – A Collector’s Guide’ by Margaret Hewat & June M. Owen.

The similarity to the Drewry pattern is no coincidence; the Hilditch works were located in Lane End, Staffordshire, just over the road from the Drewery works. The engraver responsible for the copper plates used to print the transfer was not exclusively employed by these companies; rather, he would be a freelance operator, taking on the work when it was needed. Somewhere like Drewry would not need his services very often – this was pattern 65, and such printing plates could stay in use for many years before needing replacement. If you examine the details of the prints of these Hilditch products, and the other similar works such as Newhall, it is clear that the same engravers are at work for multiple firms – making this marked example an important clue to unravelling the correct attribution of these charming transfer printed wares.

Drewry & Son, Lane End, mark, a 'D' inside a sunburst star
from the ‘Transferware Collector’s Club’ database, on the ‘Teahouse Pattern’ jug illustrated below, with the note
“The numerals “44” alongside the “D” mark are more likely a worker’s number than a pattern number”.
We propose that it is indeed a pattern number, and should be read as ’77’ – see image below for the pattern.

This pattern is recorded by the Transferware Collector’s Club database as pattern #2552, titled ‘Pavilion & Tower’ ( no. 65) by Thomas Drewry & Son, Lane End, Staffordshire.  A related pattern is their #3327, a pattern known as ‘Tea House’ (See photo below).  In the documented example, there is a number next to the mark – as there is with this example & others of this pattern that have been recorded, all ’65’. Clearly this is the pattern number for this pattern, 65.  
The numbers on the ‘Tea House’ example are interpreted as ’44’, but seem to more likely be meant as ’77’ – just a few patterns along from this ‘Pavilion & Tower’ pattern. Comparing the two reveals a very close look.

Drewry Pattern from The Transfer Collector's Club website
Drewry Pattern 77(?) from The Transfer Collector’s Club website. Note the difference in the handle: this example is the same as the other numerous London-shape handles with a spur on the inside, while the (apparently) unique feature of the example we are documenting is having no spur.
Drewry & Son, Lane End, London Shape jug, pattern 65, marked 'D' in sunburst, at Moorabool Antiques, Australia
Drewry & Son, Lane End, London Shape jug, pattern 65, marked ‘D’ in sunburst, at Moorabool Antiques, Australia
Godden's 'Staffordshire Porcelain' example of Drewry porcelain
Example of Drewry porcelain London-shape teapot, pattern 65, now known as the ‘Pavilion & Tower’ pattern, here illustrated in Godden’s ‘Staffordshire Porcelain’
Drewry & Son London Shape Cup & Saucer, pattern 65 circa 1818-30
Drewry & Son ‘London Shape’ Cup & Saucer, pattern 65, circa 1818-30

This piece is a fine example of how time disappears in this field: unravelling the above story took quite a while, with widespread resources to consult and bring together to tell the story. And yet, look at the price: Rarity doesn’t necessarily mean ‘expensive’ !

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Early Vienna Figures

Early Viennese Porcelain Figures
Vienna Figure Group
Vienna Figure Group circa 1765

The second porcelain manufacturer in Europe after Meissen (1709) was in Vienna, in 1718. While the initial establishment of private businessman du Paquier ultimately declined, it was revived by the state itself in 1744 when Empress Maria Theresa bankrolled the Imperial State Manufactory, Vienna. The blue shield mark came shortly after (sometimes called a beehive, as when viewed upside down it resembles one….).

Vienna figure circa 1765
Vienna figure of ‘Autumn’, circa 1765

This remarkable figure dates to the 1760’s, and along with others in the same theme, would have been part of a grand table decoration for the banquets of an important household. The figures depict idealic ‘pastorale pastimes’, such as the harvesting of grapes seen here, and show us a favourite occupation of the Rococo courts in Europe: dress-up balls.  

Marie Antoinette as a shepherdess is an image well remembered in the present, and such themed events were a common occurrence in the 18th century. Grand balls were held with attendees all dressing in ‘pastorale’ costumes, imaginative interpretations of the life of the ‘common folk’. Imagine such a ball, with an associated dining experience included. Sitting at the table in one’s costume, there was a splendid representation of the pastoral ideal in the form of the colourful figures spread down the tabletop between the guests. They were the perfect conversation starters, and with the lively & expressive interactions of the characters seen in these Viennese figures, no end of witty comments would be possible. 

18th century Viennese Table Figures in use
18th century Viennese Table Figures in use
Vienna Porcelain c.1765
Vienna Porcelain c.1765

This example is one of a group of four figures depicting the seasons. With the grapes being harvested, it is Autumn; in the same Prague collection are two other figure groups matching (the key difference being 3-figures on a single oval base) – ‘Reaper as allegory of summer’ and ‘Ice skater as allegory of Winter’. Missing is a figure of spring; presumably the ladies depicted will have baskets of ‘spring flowers’ or fruits. 

Viennese Porcelain c.1765
Viennese Porcelain c.1765

The modeller who incised ‘Q’ is well represented in any collection with early Vienna figures. 

This example differs very slightly in the construction of the components, with the kneeling woman’s hand resting under the man’s armpit rather than on his coat tail, and her other hand not actually grasping the tool. The colour palette is the same yellow, pink, blue, and tones of green & brown, but the Prague example also includes two instances of gold being used. 

Left: Prague collection Right: Moorabool Antiques, Australia
Left: Prague collection Right: Moorabool Antiques, Australia

The definitive book on these early figures ‘Ceremonies Feasts Costumes : Viennese Porcelain Figures during the reign of Maria Theresia’ is a splendid 2007 publication with large clear illustrations, detailing hundreds of Vienna figures from the 1740’s until the 1780’s. A private businessman, Du Paquier, had started the porcelain works in Vienna as early as 1719 ( making it the second true porcelain manufacturer in Europe, after Meissen), but by 1744 he was financially struggling, and the Viennese State purchased the works. This was of course ruled by Maria Theresia, the Empress of Austria, and she loved a good party… the porcelain works were an excellent source of the needed table wares, and this included table figures.

Refer p148 of this book for an example of the above figure, also the frontispiece of the book; fig. 228 “Wine grower as an allegory of autumn”, c. 1765 (Decorative Arts Museum, Prague).

Viennese Porcelain c.1765
Viennese personalities of the 1760’s.
18th century Viennese Table Figures
Moorabool’s selection of Viennese Porcelain figures, 1760’s.
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An interesting Ink Sketch of the Waterloo Shield

The Wellington Shield sketch c. 1835

A curious ink sketch of the fabulous ’Wellington Shield’ has a story to tell.
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) was the hero of the moment when he led the British & Allies to victory over the French at Waterloo in 1815. It had been 23 years of constant fighting with the neighbours – namely Napoleon’s France – and finally, there was the reality of a genuine peace. The National was truely grateful.

Duke of Wellington, early 19th Century portrait @ Moorabool Antiques, Australia
The Duke of Wellington, early 19th Century portrait @ Moorabool Antiques, Australia
The Silver-Gilt Wellington Shield, Designed by Thomas Stothard, made by Silversmiths Green, Ward & Green, and presented to Wellington in 1821 by the Merchants and Bankers of the City of London.

The Wellington Shield is a magnificent creation, paid for by The Merchants and Bankers of London as a token of thanks for keeping Britain free of Napoleon – and the essential trade networks flowing. Commissioned in 1817, it was presented in 1821. Now in pride of place amongst all Wellington’s treasures at his London home, Aspley House, No. 1 London Road (also a ‘Present’ from the grateful people!), it was lauded as the most spectacular silver charger ever made at the time. Inspired by the description of Achille’s shield in the Iliad, it shows Wellington being crowned by a winged Nike ‘Victory’ figure, surrounded by his loyal troops, and surrounded by ten detailed panels showing scenes from his career. Large and highly-detailed, it was examined, described, and replicated in publications across the British Empire. It was put on show every year at the annual ‘Waterloo Banquets’ held at Apsley House until Wellington’s death in 1852.

The shield can now be seen in Aspley House, part of the Wellington Museum, No1 London Road. Photo source: WikiCommons

We recently came across an interesting hand-drawn ink sketch of the Shield. Part of an anonymous sketchbook, the other side bears an image of two Indian soldiers, and a camel resting alongside a rifle. Other works in the album had European views, portraits of notables, and quite a few images of ports in Europe.
How do we interpret this all?

The reverse of the sketch bears these interesting studies.

Dating to the earlier 19th century, I believe it is the sketchbook of someone who really wanted to travel – but perhaps didn’t even set foot in the exotic locations depicted. It may well have been a young lady (there were some flower studies, always popular with young lady artists), who had the ‘wanderlust‘ to see the exotic sights that these images portray – but she could well have done it all during her idle time in the ‘drawing room’ of her family home, thanks to the array of newspapers and magazines that came readily available as the 19th century progressed.

This theory comes from the discovery of the source of this piece, and also from a clue that both images share: a very faint black smudging along the edges of all figures.

The Source

The Saturday Magazine March 1 1834- The Wellington Shield
The Saturday Magazine March 1 , 1834
Left – image from the ‘Saturday Magazine’, March 1st 1834
Right – the sketch being discussed, desaturated for comparison.

This is the fine woodblock engraving which illustrated an article on the shield in the ‘Saturday Magazine‘, published March 1st, 1834. This was a small, illustrated magazine that was sold for one penny, ‘Under direction of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge‘ – although it’s contents are of social / scientific / political nature, not religious.

The publisher was John Parker (1791-1870). His father was in the Royal Navy, and Parker served his apprenticeship at a London printer, which he ended up managing. From 1829, he became the director of the Cambridge University Press – and the appointed publisher for the Christian Knowledge Society, for which the magazine was published. While he printed bibles, apparently when Parker introduced ‘steam power’ for the presses, the ‘Christian Knowledge Society’ revisited the technology!

This illustration of the shield accompanied a long article waxing lyrical about the shield and how it came to be:

“…..the Duke of Wellington, England’s great General …. had finally planted the triumphant standard of our country on the soil of France itself. ……. honours were heaped on him from all sides, and men taxed their ingenuity to devise modes in which they might best mark their gratitude to him.
To this feeling, so universally displayed, is to be attributed the production of the Wellington Shield, one of the most magnificent works of art ever executed in the precious metals. “

The Wellington Shield - source 1834
The Wellington Shield – source in The Saturday Magazine, 1st March 1834

It is, however, reversed. How could this happen? The clue is the fuzzy, ‘bleeding’ nature of the principal outlines evident in the sketchbook, even on other pages.

Nike - The Wellington Shield - circa 1835
Note the ‘bleeding’ to the dark outlines

This is evidence of the technique used: a primitive transfer, where the artist has used an ink to carefully trace the main features in the print, then placed the blank paper onto the still-wet ink. After some pressure, probably in a book press, the image would be transferred – somewhat fuzzy, and needing the secondary touch-ups and washes of solid colour to create the image as presented. As part of the process, the image appears in reverse – and tends to bleed.

The Saturday Magazine March 1 1834- The Wellington Shield - circa 1835
Left: Thomas Stothard’s 1820 very accurate engraving of the shield.
Center: woodblock from the 1834 ‘Saturday Magazine’
Right: the same detail in the ink sketch, reversed.

The differences between these details reveal the ink sketch is not copied from Stothard’s version, but is identical to the ‘Saturday Magazine’ version. The give-away is the bow beneath the laurel wreath – while it is complete with two loops on Strothard’s depiction, the Magazine has unravelled the loop, leaving it out on one side – and the artist of the ink sketch has followed this mistake.

left: Magazine, 1834. right: Ink sketch

This is a fascinating depiction of a historical artefact, from the time when Antiquity was the inspiration for heroic representation. The artist has used an interesting technique to replicate their own version in reverse – and the result is not unlike an ‘Old Master’ pen & wash drawing from a much earlier period.

left: Magazine, 1834. right: Ink sketch

More Wellington Items

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A Chinese Musical Ensemble

Chinese Qing Dynasty Musical Instruments Painting

A remarkable folio of 200 year-old Chinese paintings recently came to Moorabool. They are large-scale examples of the ‘China Trade’ paintings, usually seen on a smaller scale on ‘Pith-paper’. These are on a thicker paper, using Mulberry bark as the basis, hence known as ‘Mulberry Paper’.
They were popular with the European traders who came to Canton to buy Tea, Silk, Porcelain, and exotic Eastern produce. Rare early examples can be the mid-18th century, but they became very popular by around 1800 as trade flourished.
Their subject matter reflects this intention as a ‘souvenir album’ – the distant ancestors of the postcard folio of the modern tourist.

‘The Story of Tea’, small folio, ex-Moorabool Antiques

One theme was ‘The Story of Tea’, showing the process it went through from the bush to the tea chest- appropriate considering the intended customer, visiting European merchants. Another rarer series follows the manufacture of Porcelain.

By far the most popular subjects were the everyday people that visitors would have seen on the streets – the umbrella mender, the fish sellers, the hat maker. Crime & punishment folios featured many macabre details not suitable for children… Others have children playing with toys, the dress of the wealthy & court, and the bright & lively processions for various holidays and celebrations.

Camellia Sensis, tea plant, Chinese Export pith painting
Camellia Sensis, tea plant, Chinese Export pith painting, Moorabool Antiques

A third group served as a ‘Visual Encyclopaedia’ – with subjects such as flower specimens, birds & fish specimens, ship types, and even ’Antiques’. This album we are showing here belongs to this group, a Musical Instrument ‘visual guide’.

Occasionally there are small-scale pith paintings of Chinese musicians playing the various instruments –
but it seems these depictions of instruments on this album are quite rare.
No comparable example could be found.

Chinese Pith Painting - Musical Procession
Chinese Pith Painting – a Musical Procession, c. 1830-50 Moorabool Antiques

They represent a large number of Chinese musical instruments, as were used in the early 19th century when they were painted. As a folio, they were a document of the types of Chinese traditional instruments, which brings to mind it’s purpose: to the Westerners who were often the clients for the China-Trade paintings, they were curios; to the Chinese, they would be a fine reference folio for the musically minded – a tutor to a prince, perhaps?

Chinese Qing Dynasty Musical Instruments Painting
Ready to play….. a finely detailed Chinese Qing Dynasty Musical Instrument Painting depicting a ‘Qin’ harp, circa 1800- 1830

A total of 20 instruments are depicted, some single, several double, and two triple.

These works are for sale individually, or talk to us if you are interested in the complete group, or part thereof. Individual prices – $750 each, all 11 total price $7,000

Other Chinese Paintings