Collectible Figurines - Parian Statue?

by Nevin Heller
(Century, FL)

Collectible Figurines - Parian Statue?

Collectible Figurines - Parian Statue?

Collectible Figurines - Parian Statue?:- I have a 13.5 inch high parian (or porcelain) statue. I Would like to know about the maker's mark? I sent two pix by sending one at a time (a new submission form for each).


Thanks,

Nevin

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Reply by Peter (admin)

to Collectible Figurines - Parian Statue?

Dear Nevin

Thanks you for successfully uploading two photos using two separate submission forms. The current technology does not yet have the functionality to upload two at once, unless you are able to merge them into one photo at your end. We merge the photos at our end when your submission is chosen for publication.

Yours has been chosen because you took the trouble to fulfill all the criteria (joined the Newsletter etc)..... and you have a very interesting topic to discuss.

You have uncovered something of a mystery with this collectible figurine - which I think you may well need expert antiquarian analysis to solve ultimately, but I can give my two-pennies worth first (see the article below for my recommendations for online professional appraisal services).

Let's look at the sculpting first. In my view the sculpting is of a high standard - It looks to me most like a Victorian 'homage' to classical Ancient Roman statuary, paralleling the look of Renaissance artists. The Victorian era would fit in most with the high period of collectible figurines in parian ware.

The catalogue of the Great Exhibition of 1851 gives Thomas Battam credit for inventing parian which is actually not at all like porcelain as it is fired at lower temperatures and essentially has a matt finish being unglazed. It has a rather stark look and a tendency to attracts dirt and be difficult to keep clean. It is classified as a soft porcelain - but ironically has a higher content of feldspar than porcelain.

Several English factories claimed credit for its development (including colleagues at Royal Worcester). However, Copeland and Garrett (associated with Spode who invented bone china) was the first to produce it in 1842.

Several potteries made it under different names. Copeland was selling it as "statuary porcelain".

Wedgwood named it "Carrara," in homage to Michelangelo's marble quarry.

It was Minton which coined the word "Parian" suggesting Paros, the Greek isle that furnished much of the marble used in the classical period.

So it was the Victorian era which saw the height of fashion for Parian ware collectible figurines and busts - especially between c1870 to c1890.

It was, of course the the marble-like effect of parian which attracted the Victorians. Every properly furnished Victorian parlor contained at least one figurine in parian ware.

In my mind, it is most likely your very collectible figurine is Victorian - as this is when classical statuary was at it's height.

But who made it?

This is where the mystery deepens. The star or asterisk mark with which it is hand-signed has no recorded Victorian maker - at least not in any of my reference books. In fact there is only one reference to this exact mark at all.

The person who marked the piece knew a thing or two about European porcelain as they were paying homage to the earliest documented wares in European ceramics. The three stroke asterisk mark with the little balls on the end (which you can see clearly from the enhanced photo) is an exact replica (surely this can be no co-incidence) of the 'drug jars' made in Tuscany in 1430-31 for the hospital of the Santa Maria Nuova.

I hope you are able to go on to find a solution to the mystery of who made your parian mother and child collectible figurine. See below for my review of professional online appraisers.

Best regards

Peter (admin)

p.s. The following page is a 'must see' if you are researching fine china - for value and identification:-

Researching the identity and value of antique and vintage fine china.

Comments for Collectible Figurines - Parian Statue?

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Star or asterisk pottery mark with tail
by: J Gauthier

Kind greetings. I would be most grateful for your insight regarding a rather dramatic 19" ceramic vase we have had in the family for just over 30 years.

asterisk mark with tail

It was originally acquired by my grandmother from an antique shop in the quaint village of New Hope, Pennsylvania. My grandmother, sadly, is gone now and I never had the opportunity to as her what the dealer had told her about the piece.

I really need your help.

Thank you so much!

J. Gauthier
Vancouver, BC

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Reply by Peter (admin)

These ware seem to be antique and very high quality. If this is the case, why do none of my antique pottery mark reference books show this mark? Maybe it's there I am missing it. Maybe they are very good modern Chinese reproductions.

This one is a mystery. any help appreciated.

Peter (admin)

Your Mark
by: Anonymous

The mark on the vase looks very much like a mark used by both Worcester and Meissen in the mid to late 18th Century. Looking at the style of your piece I'd put my money on it being Meissen.
It needs further research but I would concentrate on the 'Meissen angle'. Good luck with it as it is a beautiful piece and potentially very valuable ... to the point that it would be worth submitting to Christies, or Sotheby's for valuation.

Regards,

Shaun

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