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Mystery solved

A while ago I asked for help from all the readers of this blog to identify a pair of potpourri vases from about 1835-1840, which I had been told were Minton - but I was not sure they were. Previously, it had also been thought that they'd been made by Samuel Alcock, which certainly wasn't correct.

How did we know that? The pattern numbers weren't right. But it was a mystery who made them. I've had these vases before, and have noticed them elsewhere, although they are rare. And in the meantime I had acquired another garniture of three vases of the same shape, so now I had five of these wonderful, slightly strange and stylistically over-the-top items!

After I put them up here, a friendly reader contacted me and thought they might have been made by Madeley, the short-lived factory of Thomas Randall and his nephew John Randall. I did some research and these vases seemed to tick many boxes: beautiful porcelain, very high quality bird paintings- both Randalls were experts in the painting of birds, and John Randall would later move on to become Coalport's most important bird painter. The tooled gilding also seemed to be right; at the time, not many factories were capable of doing that. So yes, I decided it was Madeley.

Or so I thought! I brought them out to the fair in Birmingham, and the first person stopping by at my stand was a gentleman who told me they were made by Henry Daniel. Now I love Henry Daniel and I have collected many of his wares for my own pleasure, so this had always been on my mind as a possibility given the style, colour and the very high quality decoration. But I couldn't find anything in the quite extensive documentation on this maker so I put that out of my mind.

What I found out was that just a matter of months ago, after long consideration and careful research, the experts who form the Daniel Collectors Circle had decided that these vases were indeed made by Henry Daniel. They are the absolute top of Rococo Revival design; nothing is straightforward, everything is maximalist. I don't always love this style of encrusting, but there is something so very pleasing about the shape of these items, and it is all done in quite a playful way. The proportions of both the vases and their covers are perfect to the eye, the decorations always arresting.

So how did these experts come to their conclusion? It was the general style, the porcelain body, the tooled gilt, the "melted ice" gilt borders, and the gilt kidney-shaped detail under the handles... to name just a few aspects that are unique to Henry Daniel.

So my first gut feeling had been right...! Little did I know.

Sometimes it can be a bit of a journey to correctly identify items, and I love the detective work involved. I also feel it is important to identify them correctly; people have given their lives to creating these beautiful items and I want to honour their talent and efforts.

I am so pleased that these beauties have "come home", and I feel grateful to all the experts who have helped out. There is always more to learn, we never stop. If anyone ever thinks they now know everything - well that means they really don't know very much.

These beautiful items are for sale in my shop, you can find them here with my decorative items. You can find all my available items here, and if you want to stay up to date with new additions, find me on Instagram, where I put up pictures with a story several times a week.

We are open 🎁

We won't be shipping anything in the next week or 10 days, but the shop stays open... so feel free to browse, ask questions and of course make purchases!


This week's new treasures:​



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