Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hand Painted Works of Art

by Miriam Randazzo

I recently had a one of my auction listings ended early by a large online auction company, not just once, but twice!  The reviewer reasoned that the item I had listed was a duplicate; identical to another I had listed and in serious defiance of their duplicate policy.  The merchandise in question was this beautiful, hand painted Limoges cup and saucer. 


The whiteware blank with swirl design was manufactured by Charles Field Haviland of Limoges, France, and the decoration, hand painted by a china painter during the late 1800s to early 1900s. 

Had the reviewer been keen enough to catch the word, "hand painted," he would have, or at least should have realized, that any hand painted item, cup and saucer set included, is a true one of a kind.  Every brush stroke individually made by a human hand is no different than an autograph, similar, but never a duplicate. 

I sat perplexed; clearly the reviewer was a Limoges novice and just didn't understand that this work of art was not a mass produced dish identical to hundreds, thousands or millions just like it.  Clearly, the reviewer didn't understand the basics difference between "hand painted" and "transfer" decoration. 


Close inspection of any hand painted porcelain ware will reveal that the texture and technique with which the paint is applied is individual and varied.  A good painter, even a master, can  replicate their painting but will never duplicate their work.  

To the novice and visually challenged, It can be quite difficult to ascertain brush strokes with a naked eye.  You should inspect all items in bright natural light with a high powered loupe or magnifier for assistance.  As you look closely at a piece of hand painted porcelain, you will see a variety brush strokes with sometimes obvious and other times subtle thickness or texture variations, made as the paint brush was pushed or pulled along the porcelain surface.  Every petal and every leaf of a painted flower was made with at least one brush stroke, often several; and every petal and leaf is unique. 

You may find it helpful to browse through some "How to Paint" books.  By identifying how certain flowers are painted, you can more readily identify the brush stroke technique on a piece of porcelain.  These books can be found at most craft stores and are generally categorized according to subject: flowers, trees, animals, etc.


Not all French porcelain was hand painted during the Victorian and Edwardian Eras, in fact, most was not.  Factories that wished to mass produce their dishes used "Decalomania," a method of applying or affixing printed decorations to a porcelain ware.  Under magnification, you will notice a dot matrix look to the design, similar to newspaper print but a much better quality.  Sometimes, if the decal bunched together during application, you'll find a clump of color that can be confused with a brush stroke, so  be sure to carefully inspect the whole decoration. 


This process of identifying hand painted wares verses transfer wares does take practice, but there is one major clue to identifying a painted piece of porcelain.  Like an artist signs his paintings, so did china painters.  Although not all are signed, many are.  This particular example is artist signed on the underside of the cup and saucer initials, "R.W."   

One of the best places to learn the difference between hand painted porcelain and transfer decorated wares is at an antique shop where a dealer specializes in antique dishes.  Most dealers will gladly help you differentiate. 

As for this beautiful, antique Limoges, porcelain cup and saucer, I give up.  I'm not fighting to re-list it a third time only to have some antique porcelain illiterate cancel it again. So if you'd like to buy it, it's only $24.99 plus shipping and insurance.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2011 Wayne County Antique Show

by Miriam Randazzo

It's that time of year again; time for the 47th Annual Wayne County Antique Show and Sale.  Over fifty antique dealers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York will display their wares on Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12 from 10 AM to 5 PM and 11 AM to 4 PM respectively.

We at Tillie's Antiques and Trinkets will feature some outstanding early to mid 19th century books discussing the American Revolution, Native American Indians, Sullivan's Campaign and Luzerne County history.  We'll have antique glassware, porcelain, military pins, jewelry, silver, and so much more.

The sale is located at the Wayne Highlands Middle School, located on Upper Grove Street, in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. 

Please stop by our booth, in the main room. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Antique Haviland Limoges Egg Dish

During the late 1800s, Victorian elite adorned their dining table with some of the most elaborate and unusual porcelain oddities imaginable. I've shown several examples over the past few months, including chocolate pots and turtle soup bowls, but there are so many more so explore. Take for example, this pretty little plate:

This porcelain oddity was manufactured and decorated by Charles Field Haviland of Limoges, France, during the late 1890s. The gently ruffled edge is adorned six, individually-applied, oval egg holders. The plate is decorated with hand painted violets with transfer outlines; the edges burnished with gold. The dish was used for serving deviled eggs, the spicy stuffed savory we still enjoy today.

Egg dishes like the one shown above are available in today's market, but they are not an easy find. If you are looking to buy a similar dish, expect to pay between $150 and $250.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bloomsburg Spring 2011 Antique Show Postponed!

Due to the rising Susquehanna River, the Bloomsburg Antique Show has been postponed until Saturday and Sunday, March 26th & 27th. The hours remain the same from 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and from 11 AM to 4 PM on Sunday. Any coupon you may have will be honored.

We've packed some great new merchandise including hand drawn Luzerne County maps, coffee grinders, costume jewelry, Wedgwood bone china, atlases, a great early 19th century oak umbrella stand and so much more.

Be sure to mark your calendars.

We're looking forward to seeing you again!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gold and Silver Sellers Beware!

I was speaking with a client who attended an event, at a local hotel, where out-of-towners were offering to buy your gold and silver. She only had silver to sell, and was offered $7.00 per ounce!

Take a look at silver prices today: $33.38 per ounce. Now sterling silver is 92.5% silver, and a dealer will pay you less than market value, but don't get ripped off. Reputable silver dealers are paying up to 75 and 90% of silver value.

Don't be afraid to sell, just be cautious and educated.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Was Outdated is New Again!

by Miriam Randazzo

We recently held a Mid-Century and Retro Auction at the auction gallery where I work. The auction was filled with over 200 lots of merchandise from the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s, including 1970s psychedelic polyester shirts, life sized robots, Herman Miller bent wood chairs, and 1960s movie posters and lobby cards.

The auction screamed, "Funky Retro!" and was the first time we conducted a specialty auction of this sort. Truth be told, we questioned whether or not the auction would fly here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where change is something people like in their pocket and avoid in all other facets of life.

As it turned out, the crowd was big, the bidding swift and the results super!

The highlight of the evening was a 1980s life sized robot that sold for $1100, including buyer's premium. The robot, zoomed and spun about the gallery, bringing us a grinning, laughing audience. Is there anything more pleasing?

Its good to reinvent your business, every now and then. It brings a renewed curiosity from past customers, excitement from a new clientele, and a staff satisfaction second to none. You may have to endure a few remarks in exchange, but it is definitely worth it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Antique Appraisal Tea at the Stegmaier Mansion

How exciting! An afternoon tea and antique appraisal set at the Stegmaier Mansion in downtown Wilkes-Barre! If you haven't had the opportunity to visit this extraordinary Victorian delight, let me encourage you!

Mr. Joe Matteo, owner of the bed and breakfast, painstakingly restored the 19th century building, previously owned by Frederick Stegmaier, whose family owned and operated the the Stegmaier Brewing Company. The building dates back to the 1870s, and from its detailed entry foyer to opulent dining room, is Victorian splendor at its finest.

Hostess for the afternoon will be the always entertaining, Ms. Lisa Griffiths-Lewis, a professional Victorian Era living history actress. Ms. Griffiths-Lewis is the owner of Victoriana Lady, a traveling museum of Victorian clothing and accessories.

Food will be prepared by award-winning executive chef, Mr. Jody Klocko, who's food and presentation is second to none.

Antique appraisals will be conducted by Miriam Randazzo, owner of Tillie's Antiques & Trinkets. Mrs. Randazzo has been engaged in the antique industry for over fifteen years and completed appraisal training with the Institute of Appraisal of Personal Property, in 2003. She conducts estate sales in the Luzerne county area and displays at a variety of notable antique shows in the state of Pennsylvania. She also works as a research and technical analyst and appraiser for Cook and Cook Auctions of Plains, PA and as an auction consultant with White Rose Auctions of Boiling Springs, PA.

For reservations, please contact Lisa Lewis, The Victoriana Lady, at 570.655.8392 or at