COL­LECTA­BLES

JOHN MCPHEE EVAL­U­ATES READ­ERS’ PRE­CIOUS OB­JECTS.

Country Style - - COLLECTABLES -

I BOUGHT TH­ESE pretty jewellery boxes in Ox­ford, Eng­land, in 2000 for about £50 each and I am hop­ing you can tell me more about them. J. Sher­man, AS­P­LEY, QUEENS­LAND Pretty boxes like th­ese were made, of­ten in sets, for a dress­ing ta­ble. One of yours is a gilt-metal pow­der box with im­i­ta­tion stone and pearl dec­o­ra­tions on the lid. The other is a jewel box in the shape of a baroque cabi­net, into which rings might be placed at night. We are most fa­mil­iar with cut-glass and crys­tal sets, but more elab­o­rate and ex­pen­sive ex­am­ples were made in elec­tro­plated metal, sil­ver, and even gold. Your boxes were made in France where crafts­men con­tin­ued the tra­di­tion of mak­ing small lux­ury items through­out the 19th cen­tury. MY MOTHER WAS given this china set as a wed­ding gift. The in­for­ma­tion on the bot­tom says it’s ‘Paragon’, with two Royal seals that read: ‘By ap­point­ment to H.M. The Queen and H.M. Queen Mary Fine China Eng­land Reg’d English Rose’. She has pe­tite cofff­fee cups and saucers, larger cofff­fee cups and saucers, side plates (one is miss­ing), a cofff­fee pot, and small and large sugar bowls and cream­ers. Kathryn Hede, MER­IM­BULA, NSW Your cofff­fee set was made at the Paragon com­pany, which pro­duced fifine china be­tween 1919 and 1960 at Stoke-on-trent, Stafff­ford­shire. The Royal war­rants were granted for Queen Mary in 1933 and Queen El­iz­a­beth II in 1953, which means that your mother’s set was pro­duced be­tween 1953 and 1960, and was prob­a­bly new in the year in which she was mar­ried. Paragon pro­duced hun­dreds of de­signs and there are many vari­a­tions of the English rose idea, but yours is an el­e­gant one — hand­painted, trans­fer printed and with gild­ing. The value of the sets de­pend on them be­ing com­plete, just one piece miss­ing re­duces a col­lec­tor’s in­ter­est. John Mcphee is an art his­to­rian who was cu­ra­tor of Aus­tralian Dec­o­ra­tive Arts at the Na­tional Gallery of Aus­tralia.

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