Antique China Mystery - Large Painted Blue and White Bas Relief Vases

by Peter (admin)

Blue & White Painted Bas Relief Vases

Blue & White Painted Bas Relief Vases

This is the story of Terry Huber from the US who had happened across the pair of painted blue and white vases and was curious to know their history.

Terry had a theory of where they might have been made, and wanted to run the vases across my expert team of valuers to see if they concurred or could somehow give further clues into his research about these quirky blue and white painted vases.

Here is a summary of what my ceramics expert thought about the vases:-
    A Pair Of European Porcelain Vases

    Your item's measurements: Height: 9.5 inches

    Item Date: 19th Century

    Our expert's market report:
    The story of this type of ware was begun the the 1770's when Josiah Wedgwood developed Jasperware. It became increasingly popular with other makers throughout the 19th Century trying their hardest to emulate this successful 'look'. These vases are definitely European and most likely German. The blue crossed lines mark is very generic and used by many hundreds of makers, in homage to the original pioneers of hard-past porcelain in Europe, Meissen. To identify the exact studio is not possible as it is a minor one, but it may have been one of the Thuringian makers. Also the date of production could have been anytime during the 19th C as the trend remained a long term feature. Let's say anytime from 1830 - 1870. The vases are likely to be porcelain rather than parian, an English invention launched in 1842 by Copeland and Garret, which did not see the light of day with other makers (notably English firms) until after the mid 1800's and then used principally on statuary to impersonate marble. One method European makers used was to produce a Jasperware looking item was to paint the background in a jasper type blue colour, leaving the relief moulded decoration white to create the decorative effect. This is the mode of production with the vases being assessed.
So, did this concur with the theory of Terry's?

Well, yes and no, read on for the full story.....

Peter (admin)

Comments for Antique China Mystery - Large Painted Blue and White Bas Relief Vases

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W M Bloor Original US FIne Porcelain Pioneer
by: Peter (admin)

Terry then wrote in to ask if our experts had considered the vases could be of American origin, made by a W M Bloor, a British American immigrant who was active around 1858 - 1862.

The short answer to that was, frankly, not all that likely, for the simple reason the vases were distinctly European, in fact, German in appearance and once you start getting into the details of a virtually uncatalogued area of very early pioneering ceramic production in America, you were getting into a very specialist research area outside the norms of my expert teams remit.

However, Terry was kind enough to send some links which turned out to be some of the most interesting research I have ever seen published on the history of fine china making.

Terry's information is something I thought other visitors might like to read, so I asked his permission to publish our correspondence online, so as to benefit others research and also see in anyone else can add to the knowledge base over time.

So, please read the correspondence which I publish below as it happened real time and feel free to continue the thread on from herewith us......

Peter (admin)

W M Bloor Original US Pioneer of Fine China Making
by: Terry

...I cannot yet prove through an expert that this is definetly WM. Bloor's work. I talked with the head of the museum of ceramics in East Liverpool, Ohio although she said the subject matter is right and the blue paint is his method of operation.

She could not say that this is his work definitively.

There is a site on many of the American potters here:-

This site tells a great story about WM Bloor and W M Brunt jr.

... How they went to the gold rush together and ended up as partners in pottery later.

It is a great piece of history! So, good luck and maybe someone out there can shed more light on this.

As you say, if the history is not recorded then it is lost.



W M Bloor and W M Brunt Parianware
by: Peter (admin)


Thanks for that link - I found it mindblowing to have such an articulate eyewitness account from so long ago - making it seem as though it were happening now. Wow!

Do you mind if I publish this private correspondence on my site and use your photos?

Peter (admin)

WM Bloor & WM Brunt link to Early Clay Industries of The Upper Ohio Valley Website
by: Terry

permission granted

Early American Ceramics - First Hand Account
by: Peter (admin)

Thanks for the permission. This is great information and just what my site thrives off.

I particularly like and appreciate the link to the article written by W. A. Calhoun a contemporary and eye witness -

In the section 1859 -WILLIAM BLOOR - 1862, I found this interesting quote (which, if these vases are W M Bloor, makes what my expert said not quite so far off the mark in terms of make, style and technique - just happening on the wrong continent!)
    "Mr. Bloor had a decorator who did some very fine work. This man was a German artist who had turned his attention to the decoration of china. I am not certain of this man's name but think it was Ludwig, however, he returned to East Liverpool in the eighties and worked for a time at the plant of The Knowles, Taylor & Knowles Company........ The writer can well remember being taken into this shop and seeing this German artist at work, hand painting the ware and it was from seeing him at work in this shop that he remembered him when he came to the Knowles decorating shop to work".

This will make a fascinating addition to the information on the site and thank you for flagging this up.

If you wish, you will be able to directly add your own comments and any updates you have live on the page. I am very fascinated and intrigued to get hold of an eye witness report of the pottery business in the USA at the time of the civil war. This is quite breath-taking actually, and I can't thank you enough!

Peter (admin)

Ott and Brewer - American Beleek
by: Terry

Yes, it's great history and remember that bloor began the pottery of ott and brewer who invented american belleek. this is just my own personal opinion and others would disagree but, i think mr. bloor was the master potter of this country from which all others then followed. i could be wrong. i would be very pleased to prove that my vases are from the master. i am having real problems finding someone qualified to evaluate them. i will stick to the chase until the question is answered.

so, good luck to us both!


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