Mug has a han­dle on hu­mour

Waterloo Region Record - - Arts & Life - JOHN SEWELL

Q. I in­her­ited this mug and would love to know a bit more about it. I’m in­trigued by the han­dle, which seems to show some sort of strange snake goblin that doesn’t seem to go at all with the flo­ral de­sign on the piece. It has a mark­ing on the bot­tom show­ing part of a crown and the words “Pa­tent Iron­stone China” and stands 10 cen­time­tres high and 14 cm across (4 by 5.5 inches). Why the strange han­dle? Any­thing you can tell me about it would be much ap­pre­ci­ated. Mary-Louisa, Stra­bane, Ire­land

A. Your scarce cider mug was made by C.J. Ma­son & Co., who made fa­mous this very durable iron­stone pot­tery. With the slightly pan­elled shape and the man­u­fac­turer’s mark, it can be dated to circa 1830. It is hand-coloured iron­stone over a trans­fer out­line in the ‘Vase and Jar­diniere’ pat­tern. The colours and de­sign with tree peonies are Asian-based and the snake or hy­dra han­dle is ei­ther sym­bolic of a guardian or just sim­ply Bri­tish hu­mour. Find­ing early pieces like yours by this maker is dif­fi­cult since al­most all that turn up to­day are prod­ucts of com­pa­nies after 1850 mak­ing sim­i­lar prod­ucts or re­pro­duc­tions. Ask­ing prices are high in Eng­land for these but in North Amer­ica you can drink to a likely of­fer of $175.

Q. This is a com­mem­o­ra­tive spoon is­sued to hon­our the visit of the Bri­tish mon­archs to Canada in 1939. It was used daily as the sugar bowl spoon when I was young. I be­lieve the first mass pub­lic rally in Toronto was at Riverdale Park. The front reads: King Ge­orge V1/ Queen El­iz­a­beth. The back reads: Com­mem­o­rat­ing The Visit of Our King & Queen to Canada 1939. It is also stamped with Wm Rogers & Son. Bill, Ot­tawa

A. Many his­toric events have been por­trayed on spoons. This visit, tak­ing place about two months be­fore the be­gin­ning of the Sec­ond World War by the par­ents of Queen El­iz­a­beth II, lasted a month dur­ing May and June and cov­ered Canada from coast to coast. Mas­sive crowds gath­ered in the ma­jor cities vis­ited, as you said. This spoon is laden with sym­bol­ism in­clud­ing a Maple Leaf, and the Lan­cas­trian Rose, This­tle and Sham­rock, representing the roots of English, Scot­tish and Ir­ish Cana­di­ans. Com­mem­o­ra­tive items have been pro­duced and col­lected for years. This sil­ver-plated spoon varies in price with the sil­ver con­di­tion but gen­er­ally brings about $25. It is a great re­minder of the bond be­tween Canada and the United Kingdom.

Q. This framed pho­to­graph was found in a shed at my par­ents’ cot­tage. The photo is 52 cen­time­tres high by 81 cen­time­tres wide (20.5 by 32 inches) and bears the script sig­na­ture of ‘G.R. Lance­field, Ot­tawa.’ The cap­tion ti­tle reads ‘Fitzroy Har­bour Canada At­lantic Rail­way,’ and the frame is ini­tialled ‘C.A.R.’ which leads me to be­lieve that the assem­bly hung in their pas­sen­ger rail­way car. My brief re­search of this com­pany has deter­mined that it con­tin­ued to op­er­ate un­til 1914, at which time it was sold to an­other rail­road com­pany. Could you please let me know the value of the above-noted item. Jonathan, Dun­robin, Ont.

A. The rail­way was es­tab­lished by lum­ber mag­nate John R. Booth to fa­cil­i­tate his prod­uct trans­port. By amal­ga­ma­tion of small rail­ways, he formed Canada At­lantic Rail­way Com­pany in 1879. It caught on for pub­lic ser­vice and grew. He de­cided to sell it, and did so in 1914, to the Grand Trunk Rail­way after leas­ing it to them for 10 years. Ge­orge R. Lance­field was a suc­cess­ful Ot­tawa pho­tog­ra­pher dur­ing the late 19th and early 20th cen­turies whose work in­cludes in­te­rior pho­to­graphs of the Par­lia­ment build­ings in Ot­tawa, a fa­mous Sir John A. Mac­don­ald por­trait, and Cana­dian Arc­tic ex­plo­ration. Oak frames with carved or ap­plied ti­tle em­bel­lish­ments with orig­i­nal con­tents are rare, and this is also a rare pho­to­graph — prob­a­bly used for a post­card view soon after its pub­li­ca­tion. There is strong in­ter­est in rail­way mem­o­ra­bilia, and your shed dis­cov­ery is worth $250.

John Sewell is an antiques and fine art ap­praiser. To sub­mit an item to this col­umn, go to the Con­tact John page at www.johnsewellan­ Please mea­sure your piece, say when and how you got it, what you paid and list any iden­ti­fy­ing marks. A high res­o­lu­tion jpeg must also be in­cluded. (Only email sub­mis­sions ac­cepted.) Ap­praisal val­ues are es­ti­mates only.

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