Sunday, January 2, 2011

Today's purchases!!!

The 1840's English Parian pitcher on my Huntboard next to another English Parian urn.

Today is the 3rd day of a monthly Mobile, Alabama estate sale. Each month this estate sale has over 40,000 items with a great deal of them being pre 1860. It's also my favorite day because everything but the furniture is 60% off!!! I always go on Fridays to look over and buy anything thing I like that I think might not make it to Sunday. I found the 1820's American Empire Franklin stove on Friday that I have a earlier post about. While I was there I noticed a cool nineteen century parian pitcher finely embossed with gentleman holding horns. The pitcher was damaged with the bottom being glued back on with yellow glue. At $65.00 I thought I would chance getting it on Sunday at 60% off. With the damage I hoped it would still be there. When I first saw it I thought this would look great on my 1830's South Carolina walnut Huntboard. I had two days to dream about this piece hopping it would still be there.

Finely Sunday morning came and the lineup of people waiting to get into the estate sale was great I probably was the 50th person in line. Doors open at 10:00am on the dot and I showed up 5 minuets before. I have to try and remember not to run over little old blue haired women as the doors open. It's almost like running for land like they did in the mid-west in the late 19th century. Antiques are my addiction and drug of choice! The adrenalin of the hunt is amazing as you never know what you might find.

Careful not to run over anyone I got my jug/pitcher, I was so happy that my Huntboard was getting a new friend. The jug/pitcher is English Parian porcelain dating from the 1840's. The marble-like beauty of Parian Ware captivated Victorians. It allowed the middle classes to possess articles of high quality art. Less expensive than bronze and more durable than plaster, Parian was a development of earlier biscuit porcelain. Its invention did not come out of thin air, however. It was a derivative of the unglazed, white porcelain biscuit figures produced by French factories such as Sèvres. Since biscuit was a very flat and cold porcelain, various firms and individuals attempted to find a warmer, creamier material, more like marble from which they could mold decorative items.

Several potteries marketed it under different names. The Copeland firm called it "statuary porcelain" because of its resemblance to the fine white marble of neoclassical sculpture. Wedgwood named it "Carrara," after the Italian quarry patronized by Michelangelo. But it was Minton which coined the word "Parian" to suggest Paros, the Greek isle that furnished much of the stone used in the classical period. Thus, it quickly became the medium's generic name.

My pitcher is rare as a web search only turned up a few. The piece is marked on the bottom. "The Distin family. The Sax horn performers." It was made between 1844-48 when the Distin brother were touring Europe. I fell in love with the piece because it is a ornate whimsical piece of Early Victorian. The piece is very busy on the eye. The pitcher is molded with the Distin Family Quintet with Father to the front of the pitcher and the four son's around him. Each hold a Sax Horn and are showcased in ornate Rococo Revival scrolls and shells. The handle of the pitcher is made up of Sax horns with hands holding them. The back of the piece has raised music books and scrolled music paper. The modeling is so detailed and crisp on this piece. I can't wait to soak this piece in bleach and reglue the bottom with clear glue.
Distin Family Quintet

Distin Family Quintet

Distin Family Quintet

I found a few other examples in a lavender/White color way I glad my piece is just white.This one is in a Museum in London. It also appears to have old repairs at the bottom.   

I found a few other examples in a lavender/White color way I glad my piece is just white.

My pitcher English Parian 1840's Distin Family Quintet jug

The modeling is so detailed and crisp looking at the piece up to light

The back of the piece has raised music books and scrolled music paper. The modeling is so detailed and crisp looking at the piece up to light

The 1840's English Parian pitcher on my Huntboard next to another English Parian urn.

The 1840's English Parian pitcher on my Huntboard next to another English Parian urn.

A Early 19th century cut glass crystal decanter

A wedding band Old Paris porcelain platter

A 22 carat gold leaf frame I picked up for a dollar. I'm always looking for fine quality frames to frame hundreds of prints and engravings I own. This is a good reproduction frame with real 22k gold leaf. If you were having something framed with this type of frame you will pay $100.-$300 per foot! I have been lucky to find used gold leafed frames in junk stores, antique malls and estate sales on my travels. I always buy them even if I don't know what to put in them. They could be cut down or wait to you find the perfect thing to go in them. This frame is a nice size at 2 feet in diameter square.

I love the mellow color of the gold leaf and the red bule showing thru. After theses repro frames get a few nicks and dents you can't tell them from 18th & 19th century frames on the front only looking at the new wood on the back you will be able to tell. 

The Pair of American marked Bennington parian porcelain hand holding a tulip blossom form vase with decorated cuff were a bargain at 4 dollars

Early 19th C. Mocha-ware/Yellowware, mixing Bowl with a white glazed band and a thin brown bands cobalt blue Seaweed pattern around the bowl. This large bowl has chips to the glaze and hairlines but it is a early handmade piece. I did not see it the first day but at 60% off of $25.00 it was a very good price. I'm sure this piece is from the New York estate!!! Mocha decorated pottery from the 18th and 19th century is very rare as the pieces were utilitarian objects and used everyday therefore very little have survived. Prices are very high and pieces can cost a lot more for a fine piece of porcelain.

This mixing bowl is very large measures longer then 12 inches across the top

This is another item that I did not noticed on the first day a beautiful Japanese lacquer landscape footed tray. I'm no expert on Asian art and Antiques or a big fan of them. I only became interested in them after viewing a show at Versailles on Marie Antoinette's collection of Japanese Lacquer. Her mother left her a nice collection and Marie Antoinette added to it. Marie Antoinette's pieces were antique already when she got them in the 18th century. I was amazed at the fine detail of the Queens collection plus the fact the each piece was in so good of condition they looked like they were made yesterday but they were 3-4 hundred years old. As I say I'm no expert on Asian art but my tray appears to be made in the late 19th century. It is a fine example of the exquisite lacquer work created in Japan during the late 19th century. The colors and detail are amazing.

When I saw this piece I knew right where it would go, on my bed. For a person that lives in my bed, looking at TV, reading, writing my blog and eating this is something I have been looking for. I'm not to far from Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale in Grey Gardens! It's a good thing I did not buy one of those tacky bed laptop holders. As I was about to brake down and buy one.
The Japanese lacquer footed tray is decorated with hand painted carts and lot's of gold leaf

A beautiful tree with flowers

Detail of the butterfly & beautiful tree with flowers

The bracket foot of the tray. The corners and middle of the side have faux hardware made up of painted gold leafed lacquer. I'm sure this also is from a New York estate. I was happy to find out that all of my purchases came up to $89.00. I thought it would be over a hundred with all of the implosive shopping. So far the New Year has been a very lucky year for me antique shopping.  


  1. Very cool! I'd like to come to one of these estate sales in Mobile, Alabama. Eric

  2. Hi Eric, Let me know when you are in Mobile. The sale takes place the first weekend of the month!!!

  3. How fantastic that one art form (Parian ware) celebrated another art form (music). I love the very handsome Distin family and I love the raised music books and scrolled music paper on the back. The Sax horns with hands holding them on the handle is very clever.

  4. very pretty indeed, the Parian pitcher's handle is why among other things they are so alluring. beautiful frame too. pgt

  5. @ Hels you are right I love cross over antiques where different collectors might be interested in one item. All of this trouble and detail for a pitcher that would have been used for cold tea,water or milk. The Distin boys are handsome in there suits. Every time I look at it I see something different I did not see before like the detail of the jewelry on there vest. @ little augury I did not notice the handle until after I brought it home. I have to look thru my 18th century engravings to see which one will get the bid for the frame.

  6. Amazing! I love your eye for detail as well as the way you weave such an intricate tale.

  7. Thanks Divine Theatre I love telling story's!!!

  8. Andrew, you probablay now own the only Distin Family piece in Alabama, maybe even in the South. It is a real treasure. Marshel

  9. Thanks Marshel you may be right. I sent photo's of the pitcher to antique dealer friends that have been in the business for 50 years and they have not seen one like it.