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This is a stunning porcelain potpourri vase with a double cover made by Royal Worcester in 1901. It is painted with beautiful orchids against a soft blue background by the famous porcelain artist Frank Roberts. This vase is a beautiful decorative object.


Potpourri vases were meant to hold a mix of scented dried flowers and leaves (the potpourri) to freshen the air in the often stuffy Georgian or Victorian homes in a time before vacuum cleaners. The covers are perforated to let the scent out. 


The original Worcester factory was founded in the mid 18th Century and belongs to the group of famous pioneering potteries in Britain. It went through various changes and take overs, and in the mid 19th Century it merged with Chamberlains and Grainger, both earlier split-offs, taking the new name "Royal Worcester". The factory distinguished itself with its extremely high quality of artwork, hiring the best artists and always coming up with very vivid designs for decorative objects full of flowers, birds and fruits. It was in operation until the early 21st Century but eventually succumbed to the changing times. Today the best 19th Century Royal Worcester pieces are desired collectors' items.


This potpourri has a charming pumpkin shape and a cover with a Persian-style spire finial. The rims are set in carmine-red and gilt bands with white "pearls". Interestingly, the pot has a double cover: one to keep the potpourri inside airtight when not in use, and one to let out the scent. The body of the pot is superbly painted with softly hued ferns and orchids by Frank Roberts.


Roberts was mostly known for his exceptional warmly coloured fruit paintings, but he also did some superb flower paintings, particularly orchids like the ones on these vases. Roberts was a quiet and religious person who kept to himself, but he had an iconic status among the Worcester painters. He was not only a painter, but was one of the few people who could trace and raise gold, a difficult technique. Ever since Roberts' time at Royal Worcester, apprentices were given his work to copy as part of their training. Roberts was born in 1857 and started working at Royal Worcester in 1872 when he was only 25 years old, until shortly before his death in 1920. 


The pot carries the green Royal Worcester mark with the year cipher for 1901, as well as the shape number 1312. 


CONDITION REPORT The pot and covers are in perfect antique condition without any damage, crazing or repairs. There is some very light rubbing on some of the gilt. There is a little chip from production on the inside of the closed cover; this was glazed and gilded over at the factory so should not be seen as damage.


Antique British porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s and 1900s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. British makers were also known for their experimentation, and sometimes this resulted in technically imperfect results. Due to the shrinkage in the kiln, items can have small firing lines or develop crazing over time, which should not be seen as damage but as an imperfection of the maker's recipes, probably unknown at the time of making. Items have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear, and gilt can have signs of slight disintegration even if never handled. I will reflect any damage, repairs, obvious stress marks, crazing or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks, stains and gilt disintegration can be normal for vintage items and need to be taken into account.


There is widespread confusion on the internet about the difference between chips and nicks, or hairlines and cracks. I will reflect any damage as truthfully as I can, i.e. a nick is a tiny bit of damage smaller than 1mm and a chip is something you can easily see with the eye; a glazing line is a break in the glazing only; hairline is extremely tight and/or superficial and not picked up by the finger; and a crack is obvious both to the eye and the finger. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!


DIMENSIONS 21.5cm (8.5") tall incl. finial; 14cm (5.5") diameter.

Royal Worcester potpourri vase, hand painted orchids by F. Roberts, 1901

Out of Stock


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