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Fine Art/Antique decorative piece


Porcelain Center Piece from Italy
Porcelain Center Piece  

Porcelain Mark
Porcelain Mark  
This came from a very old estate in Italy and wondered if you could tell me anything about it.   The detail on the piece is very fine.  I can send a picture of the stamp on the bottom but basically it is a blue 5 point crown on top of a capital N

Thank you for any help you can offer


Hello Maureen;
Thank you for the question.
I often need to answer queries concerning   ceramics and porcelain. However this particular  subject  is  fast becoming  very much more of a minefield, due to the many >>fakes<  from Asia, which are flooding the market.
Therefore I wish to err on the side of caution, in giving my answer.

The background.

Just as  we  have  our own  >>crazes and  fashions <<  today, also likewise  in the past - there have  also been a great  many   of the >>latest things, and must haves<< which  people have  collected  and needed.

This image which you  have supplied, shows an all white porcelain figurine, (Blanc de Chine)  which was meant  to be used on a  Victorian lady’s dressing table.
Back in the 19th century, before the arrival of the modern world made up of  fashionable  things like  instant shampoo’s called >>wash and go<< at Publix, women used  innumerable amounts of hairpins and ribbons, to get dressed and  ready, in the morning.

This object, is part of a woman’ dressing table > necessaire<<  meaning -  an absolute  >>must have<<  and much like any  modern  and self respecting teenagers cell phone -  of today.
Blanc de Chine, started out life many centuries ago in China, and became very popular during the  Ming  Dynasty (1368–1644).

When Europeans  much later,  discovered the Far East and the whole exotic Orient  -  and Chinese porcelain became more, and more  fashionable  from around 1600 and onwards, therefore  it became a very popular  >>must have<<  in a great many homes.

Later, after the chemical formula had been  discovered in Europe, for making  real porcelain, so too began the production of the  European , Blanc de Chine.
It a way, it was also a bit like another  ceramic product called >> Parian Wares<< in the  late Victorian period which imitated  the real Cararra Marble -  which comes from Italy, and  which is also very white.
Practically all factories in Europe, and later in America - have made  Blanc de Chine objects.

The mark(s)

The supplied  photograph of the mark on the object, appears to be that of the famous  Capodimonte factory in Naples.
The Naples Capodimonte Factory in Italy, started back in 1743 and continues to make  products  right up to the present time under the Factory flag of Doccia, and also through some  exports  by Wallendorf in Germany  - and into Italy.

However  - over the course of many years, and  rather  like General Motors -  Capodimonte  has also  experienced a great >> many ups and  downs<<  including  >>bailouts<< and changes of  owners.

Marks alone, do NOT  guarantee  authenticity, there are indeed a great many variables and rapids to navigate, in this matter.
There are a numerous  characteristics, and >>fingerprints<<  which can help identify,  a real genuine  object.
Judging by the photographic  image alone, which admittedly  is always  a bit dangerous – I would suggest that it is a late 19th century object, and  produced  around  roughly 1880-1980, in Italy.

However  - in order to establish the full facts of the matter, a real time >>hands on<< examination, is needed.
This might be best served, by taking it along to a good auction house  in your own location, for a check up.
It is a fairly straightforward  examination, and any reputable action house should provide you with the right answer.

As the financial aspects, it depends on   a number of variables,  including that of  rarity, condition and also the sales venue, including  the time of year.
I hope, that my answer is of  some use to you, and I wish you very good luck with you quest at the local auction house.

Finally, I send you seasonal greetings for the Christmas  period -  and wish you a very good New Year, in 2014.
Take care .

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D. E. Lombardo


I am unable to answer enquiries concerning objects, which are NOT related to the areas of Fine Art and Antiques. Nor will I; on the sole basis of any photographic images be willing to give any definitive monetary valuations, or monetary opinions. In such cases I would always advise on getting “real time” valuations and opinions from reputable and qualified auction houses, or third parties. In some applicable cases, I may perhaps give general indications of value, based on the presented materials. True valuations always need a direct “hands on” approach, with perhaps also the necessary research and verifications. Broadly open to almost all questions, regarding the majority of both European, American quality objects, which are related to both Antiques and Fine Art. This also includes modern 20th century designer objects such as furniture etc. My own particular comfort zone areas would be; The decorative Arts, marble, stone, furniture, ivory, bone, amber, ceramics and porcelain, sculpture, glass, silver and metal objects etc. I will also answer inquiries, and give opinions concerning Dutch 17th, 18th and 19th century paintings. Please note that I do have limitations and cannot possibly answer all questions, as the field is very extensive. VERY IMPORTANT and PLEASE NOTE: Please note that; providing > GOOD CLEAR and Preferably High Resolution < photo's of the object(s)in question, is vital. Pics taken with a cell/mobile phone, are of a poor quality and best avoided. Posting signatures only, or just fragments of an artifact - will only provide me with insufficient information and it is often quite misleading. So please; Do post good clear overall images, with your question(s). Failing to do so, may cause rejection, which is also a great pity.


Since the early 90’s I lead a team of very enthusiastic staff at a business, where have the following disciplines; Restoration and refurbishment of historical buildings and gardens, including interior design. The restoration and care of Fine Art and Antiques at our restoration studio We are also Fine Art and Antique dealers, besides being collectors ourselves for a great number of years.

The main professional organization of which I am a member is the BNA, or Association of Dutch Architects, which is equivalent to the US; American Institute of Architects. Affiliated to the Art Loss Register in London and the International Cites Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Villa Rufolo; The forgotten paradise on earth. Published by the University of Aarhus, Denmark Book reviews and articles for International Archis Magazine, in the Netherlands.

Since I wished to become a Restoration Architect, firstly I took my BA degree in Art History. Then after graduation, I followed this immediately by studies to graduate and become a Restoration Architect. Ever since then, I have been an established Restoration Architect and Antiquarian. Since a great number of buildings are also inhabited by Fine Art fixtures and furnishings, I also became absorbed by all the artifacts, which go to fill them and not only the edifices themselves. This and much more, was the reason for gaining an advisory post on the City Commission; For The Protection and Care of Historic Monuments of Amsterdam - Amstelveen.

Awards and Honors
Citations and gratitude; “From the Town of Amalfi” for the groundwork achieved in order bring back the Historical past to the Medieval Villa Rufolo and its vital role in the region. BA in Art Hisory. Graduation Diploma as an Architect & Antiquarian; and also practicing as such. I have also completed a 3 year course in antiques, at the VHOK in Amsterdam VHOK is translated as; ( "The Association of Fine Art Dealers In The Netherlands.")

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