COL­LECTA­BLES

JOHN MCPHEE EVALUATES READ­ERS’ PRE­CIOUS OBJECTS.

Country Style - - COLLECTABLES -

THIS METAL NAP­KIN

ring has been in my pos­ses­sion for many years. I hope you can give me some idea of age and value — sheer cu­rios­ity on my part. Laura Roberts, DE­NILIQUIN, NSW Your nap­kin ring re­minds us of a more el­e­gant era, when peo­ple had their own nap­kin rolled as part of the ta­ble set­ting. Fam­ily and long-stay­ing guests might re­fold nap­kins and put them in the ring so they could be used at the next meal. This would have been frowned upon in some house­holds where a clean nap­kin for each meal was ex­pected. These rings were made in about 1900 when Fed­er­a­tion and self-govern­ment made a wide va­ri­ety of Aus­tralian mo­tifs pop­u­lar. Made from a base metal, such as Bri­tan­nia metal, they would orig­i­nally have been sil­ver-plated. A good jew­eller could help you lo­cate a re­storer to have it re­plated. In its cur­rent state, it’s val­ued at $10, but if you get it re­stored, ex­pect to re­ceive up to $75.

COULD YOU PLEASE tell me about these two bowls I bought in Viet­nam some years ago? The round bowl with the two women on it has a brass rim around it — at least I think it’s brass. Some­one sug­gested it was used as a face pow­der bowl. J. Smith, RESER­VOIR, VIC­TO­RIA

It is al­most im­pos­si­ble to be cer­tain with­out see­ing these bowls in the flflesh, but my guess is that they were made about the time you pur­chasedp them. They im­i­tate, or are ex­am­ples of, a style — in both shape and dec­o­ra­tion — made in Ja­pan in the mid-20th cen­tury for a western mar­ket. The paint­ing de­picts Ja­panese men and women, and if they are old, they were made in Ja­pan, not Viet­nam. How­ever, they might also have been more re­cent copies made in Viet­nam for sale in ‘an­tique’ shops. John Mcphee is an art his­to­rian who worked in art mu­se­ums for 30 years and was cu­ra­tor of Aus­tralian Dec­o­ra­tive Arts at the Na­tional Gallery of Aus­tralia.

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