I saw your article Collectable Treasures in the April 30, 2015 edition in the Kitchissippi Times. Attached is a photo of a vase which we would like to sell. Can you tell us how much it is worth. Thank you.
Hannah Feldman Halpern
Antique and vintage ceramics have been a traditional favourite of collectors and you’ve sent along a photo of a very nice example.
Doulton & Co. was a manufacturer of industrial ceramics, including water filters, drainage pipes and sanitary fittings but in the early 1860s, the British firm started to make decorative, salt glazed, stoneware. This activity was strengthened when Doulton aligned with the Lambeth School of Art where the students provided designs for the pottery products, hence a change of name to Doulton Lambeth.
I should mention that “salt glazed” refers to a technique potters used to achieve a glassy yet slightly bumpy surface on ceramics. During the firing process, common salt was thrown into the kiln at high temperature where it reacted with the silica in the clay thereby producing the glassy, transparent coating on the exterior of the piece. You see this same effect on stoneware storage containers manufactured in Canada in the mid-to- late 1800s, which are also very popular with collectors.
The Doulton Lambeth company’s products met with much international success and production peaked toward the end of the century. I believe your piece of Doulton Lambeth pottery is an example of their “faience” style. The bottom is nicely marked with the name or insignia of the company, the date of manufacture of 1884 and what are undoubtedly the initials of the maker, a stylized VW. The three-digit number is likely a model number. Your piece sports dark blue, brown, green and orange colours and is richly decorated with repeating geometric and floral designs. The footed base is also decorated and the fluted edge at the top is an elegant touch.
Size and condition are key factors with ceramics. Larger, vertical or upright pieces do command higher prices. Condition is absolutely critical. Unless a particular piece is extremely rare, a chip or crack in the body can dramatically reduce the price. The market prices for antique decorated stoneware, like prices for most antiques, have softened considerably since 2008. One can’t forget that pieces like yours were mass-produced and again this has an impact on value. That being said, your Dalton Lambeth piece has good age and is very colourful and decorative. If you had to replace it with a similar one, I expect you would have to pay something in the order of $175 to $250 perhaps more.
Again, thank you for sending in your photo.
Collectable Treasures is a column by Shaun Markey, a resident of Westboro and the author of Folk Art in the Attic. He also blogs about antiques at folkartintheattic.blogspot.ca. If you have an antique or collectable and are curious about its past and approximate value, email a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure that details are visible. Any extra information you can share about your treasure is helpful too. Your item – and its story – might be published in the next column.