Kyle on Antiques: ‘Jewels’ adorn this lamp shade

I just bought this pair of urns. I believe they are porcelain. They stand 22 1/2 inches tall. The decorations include inlay, black and brass-colored trim.                     – R.K., Baltimore, Md.

A These tall, ornately decorated urns are typical of parlor ornaments popular in the 1880s and 1890s. This set was probably displayed on a mantel. Such fancy pieces with gilt-metal mounts were manufactured in France and Germany, as well as other European factories. If perfect, I could see your pair retailing in the $800-$1,600 range.

Q I would be grateful for anything you could tell me about this lamp. – V.H., Wichita, Kan.

A You have a wonderful example of an early 20th century electric table lamp. Rather than having a fancy glass shade this lamp features an ornately embossed shade set with colorful “jewels.” The tall base also features nice floral engraving. The floral motifs are reminiscent of the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts style. I think this piece may well have been made in Europe around 1910-20, but without any markings it would be difficult to pin down. It is a very decorative piece with a nice patina. I would suspect it might sell in the $800-$1,600 range.

Q These are some pots my daughter got in Zaire in the early 1990s. There are no marks and she believed them to be reproductions of old ceramic jars. The largest one stands about 12 inches tall. The bottoms have a very light narrow ribbed finish in a circular pattern. Can you tell me anything about them? – C.G., Madison, Wis.

A These stoneware pieces have an interesting history. You don’t usually associate such pieces with Africa. Since Zaire is the post-colonial name for the Belgian Congo I think these pieces may date back to the colonial era. Similar stoneware items would have been used in Belgium in the late 19th and early 20th century and might well have been brought to the Congo. Although American 19th century stoneware pieces can be very collectible, I don’t believe there is a strong market here for European (especially German) stoneware. As decorative “country” pieces I’d guess these items might sell in the $50-$100 range.

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