Arts and Crafts works rise in interest and price Antiques: Horace Potter's pieces are being sought for an exhibition.

December 14, 1997|By Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel | Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel,KING FEATURES SYNDICATE

The work of early 20th-century American artisans, especially those who worked in the Arts and Crafts style, is attracting new collectors and bringing high prices at sales and auctions.

Many of the artisans who made pottery, glass, metalwork and jewelry are well-known only in their own cities. Kalo Shop, Carence Crafters, Elizabeth Copeland, Karl Kipp, Arthur Stone and Mildred Watkins are known to museum curators but little-known to collectors.

Horace Potter was a talented artist who worked in Cleveland. He first marked his silver pieces with his name. After forming a studio in 1899, he used the "Potter Studio" mark.

He made silver tablewares, jewelry in gold and silver and enameled copper pieces in the Arts and Crafts style.

Some of the artists who worked at Potter Studio became famous for their own works.

The firm later became Potter & Bentley Studio. In 1929, it became Potter & Mellen, the name that is still being used.

Potter & Mellen is planning an exhibition of Horace Potter's works and is searching for outstanding pieces.

Potter's jewelry was rarely marked, so there are few known examples.

He made intricate chains with enameled links, often with pearls or colored stones; pins with stones, pearls and applied decorations of stylized leaves and flowers; rings with similar decorations; and diamond jewelry.

If you know of any pieces marked "Horace Potter" or "Potter Studio," please let us know through this newspaper. You might be able to help with the exhibition.

I inherited an unusual decanter set. The 9-inch decanter is molded like the bust of a man. He's wearing a peaked cap that says "Prosit!" The cap's tassel is the stopper. There is also a tray and two shot-size cups. Each cup has a smiling face on one side and a frowning face on the other. The only marking is on the bottom of the decanter. It's a worn impression of a three-pointed crown above a sunburst. Can you tell me anything about the maker of this set and its age?

The mark you describe and the cartoon-like design of your decanter set indicate that it was made by Schafer & Vater, which had a factory in Volkstedt-Rudolstadt, Germany, from 1890 to 1962.

Schafer & Vater made all sorts of small ceramic items, but the firm is best known for its amusing figurals.

"Prosit!" is a toast to good health.

My 6-inch-high gray pottery pitcher has raised patterns of ferns on the sides. The bottom is marked "Published by W. Ridgway & Co., Hanley, October 1, 18-" Where was it made?

You have an English pitcher made by W. Ridgway & Co. in Hanley, England, between 1838 and 1848. The words "Published by" were used on pieces of pottery that had modeled designs such as the raised ferns on your pitcher. The Sculpture Copyright Act of 1797, which was amended in 1814, required the mark. Collectors find many relief-decorated jugs made before the 1840s that have the mark.

The words "Published by" also are found on 20th-century dishes that are decorated with designs taken from lithographs such as those of Currier and Ives.

The date and publisher refer to the design and not the date the plate was made.

The Kovels welcome letters and answer as many as possible through the column. Write to Kovels, The Sun, King Features Syndicate Inc., 235 E. 45th St., New York, N.Y. 10017.

Pub Date: 12/14/97

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