I received an email today (thanks, Michael) that prompted me to look again at our delftware plates. These plates were purchased at an auction house doing estate auctions. Usually these auctions are estate sales after a death or after some sort of legal order to sell someone’s belongings to pay taxes or as a result of other litigation. As a result, we obtain a variety of interesting items that have not been clearly identified. Sometimes this works to our advantage, sometimes not. But it’s fun trying.
We are not experts in this area but thought the plates were interesting and old when we bought them. There are no identifying marks of any kind. But these were, no doubt, day-to-day tableware. We took them to a well-known art auction house (as opposed to a general estate auctioneer) for appraisal. They identified them as we have them described in the online store: “Hand-painted 18th century polychrome delftware plate, red clay pottery, probably French or Belgian.”
Michael also remarked that his online research showed English plates with similar designs selling for much more. Well, in the 18th century everyone copied everyone else. Popular designs and methods (not just pottery but art, fashion, food, hairdos…) traveled quickly across Europe and even to America. I believe the identity of ours as Belgian or French was based on the type of clay, paint, and glaze.
Another remark was about valuing cracked pieces for nearly the same as uncracked. Condition for tableware of this age does not detract much from value. Ours all have at least some chips. I’m not sure how any survived!
Personally, I love these because I can imagine an 18th century family sitting down to dinner by the light of the fireplace. They are serving a pottage on our plates, hearty bread, and beer in mugs.