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Glass and Pottery Sellers’ Association - September 2005, Volume 29

Open Salts in Porcelain and Pottery

by nvilla

Third in a series on open salts

The Europeans long searched for a way to produce porcelain as fine as that done by the Chinese, and when the Germans found the secret, the history of the Meissen company began about 1708. Some 60 years later the French joined the production after discovering a source of the fine clay kaolin near the town of Limoges. As dinnerware services were produced by many factories, open salts were often part of the lines. Others were made as part of condiment sets.

Earthenware pieces, including many salts, are heavier, not translucent like porcelain, and are often glazed. Earthenware salts are more likely to be done as stand-alone serving pieces or as part of a condiment set rather than as part of a full dinner service.

The richness of this area makes the examples I offer here a tiny sampling of salts in porcelain and pottery. Production of some of these companies, including salts, continues today although the passing fashion of using open salts on the table has greatly reduced their production. Some companies continue to make salts for fine dining tables, restaurant use, or as collectibles. Some pottery ones—intended for cooks to use for spices measured out as they work—can be found in kitchen supplies stores.

The first group shown is made up of Wedgwood and Adams, three in the popular jasperware. Wedgwood continues to make salts, some in new colors of jasperware such as green and pink, as well as the most popular “Wedgwood blue.” The ones shown here are in a darker blue, typical of ones made in the 19th century. The transferware one in glazed earthenware is marked Wedgwood, intended for export to France. It is much less typical of what most people expect from Wedgwood.

The second pair are from the Moorcroft factory, the smaller one pedestal style and definitely intended as a salt. The larger one is small enough that I consider it a salt although it may have been made as a sauce dish or pin dish. These Moorcroft floral designs, many on deep blue background, are very desirable collectibles in many areas.

Wedgwood and Adams

The third group, three salts in earthenware and glazed, are Royal Doulton or Doulton Lambeth, which is generally a bit older, done at the Lambeth factory. The one on the left is known as Slater Pattern for the swirls in a gold surface and has the added decoration of enamel medalions. The center one is probably best known, Doulton’s pattern of a squire drinking ale with hunt scenes of dogs and trees around him. The one on the right is an example of the nice enamel work on some Doulton. Only the gold one has the Lambeth mark inpressed in the clay on the base. These would all be late 19th or very early 20th century.

The fourth group shows three English porcelain salts, two so tiny that they are undoubtedly from a cruet or condiment set. I have the matching pepper shaker and mustard pot for the tiny blue and white salt, which bears the crescent mark for George Jones & Sons, pre-1921. The other tiny one is an “orphan,” unmarked but in the Alton pattern in Clarice Cliff’s Bizarre Ware. I love this one, not only because I like these Clarice Cliff patterns, but because my sister spotted it in an English antique store we had braked for on a twisty country road and called to me saying “Here’s a cute little salt with a tag that seems to say clam cuff.” You all know about trying to read sellers’ tags! The larger one, master size, is in the very desirable Royal Worcester porcelain, which has a lovely cream glaze that blends smoothly into peach as it moves around the bowl.

Doulton English porcelain

Group 5 shows German salts—two Dresden salts and a Rosenthall. Dresden salts are loved for their floral decorations. The master salt has fragile applied flowers around the body as well as hand-painted flowers inside the bowl. The small one with the graceful shape has very traditional Dresden flowers around it and inside. The Rosenthall is very thin porcelain in the shape of a blossom sitting on twig legs. Notice the tiny matching spoon with a flower-shaped bowl.

The next salt is my only example of Meissen, a small individual square with a circular bowl and the Meissen crossed swords mark on the base. This mark is said to be the most frequently copied mark in porcelain, so beware of the Meissen mark. The genuine ones have gone through a series of changes, which make it especially difficult to determine authenticity.

Dresden and Rosenthall Meissen

The next group pictures some pieces by other European makers. Two are porcelain, the large salt, which is on a low pedestal, and the tiny blue and white. The large one, with a well-known red design, is by Herend, named for a small village near Budapest, where it was originally made. Herend still produces salts today although some patterns are not available in the U.S., except of course on eBay. The individual blue and white is Royal Copenhagen in a pretty pattern called Half Lace. The funny orange pumpkin is an unmarked Royal Bayreuth, also German like some of those mentioned earlier, but the factory began when it was Prussia down in the south east area called Bavaria.

The large lady (nearly 7 inches tall) holding two salt bowls is French faience pottery, probably a 20th century copy of older ones in this form. Faience painted and glazed pottery originated in Italy but was taken up by various French makers. On the right is another French faience salt, individual in size, by the well-known Quimper factory. It has a common primitive pattern of a wreath of flowers and leaves on one side and a place name on the other side with a sponged blue rim. On the left is a pottery salt from Wales, a Longwy piece with thick enamel and colorful flowers.

Last of all, I picture four Japanese salts. Before 1921 these were marked Nippon, which is simply a name for Japan. In 1921, U.S. laws mandated that Nippon must be changed to Japan, and so began the Noritake era. It was difficult to limit this example because there are so many nice Nippon/Noritake salts and I own quite a few examples. Most of these are first third of the 20th century and therefore not as old as many of the others shown. During this time the Japanese continued to make salts, many to match dinnerware patterns and also many of the rather flat salts called celery salts to go with larger serving pieces for raw vegetables like celery and radishes. The decorative blue salt on a stand here is a celery salt. Also shown are two pedestal style salts with hand painted designs inside the bowls and a shell-shaped one that seems to copy Dresden pieces. The two pedestal salts are marked Hand Painted Nippon and the other two Noritake. All of these are fine, thin porcelain. Thicker, rougher salts of Japanese origin are often found, mostly marked just Japan or unmarked.

Other European makers More European makers Japanese

It’s difficult to stop here, but I don’t want to add so much salt to the diet of GPSA Gazette readers that your blood pressure rises and your doctors put you on low-salt diets. Maybe I’ll come back one day, when I’ve given you time to wash the salt out of your blood streams, with some salts in other materials like metals, stone, and wood. That will be a very short article because I made the decision early in my collecting to limit my collection (mostly) to glass, porcelain and pottery. See what a good GPSAer I am?

PLEASE NOTE: These photos can be printed for your own collection files, but are not to be used for any Internet auction listings, websites, or any other commercial purposes. The photos provided for this article are from the personal collection of the author or with permission from the owner.

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Featured Sellers

GPSA’s Featured Sellers are jpthings, rose6735, roxannesebastian, and The*Godmother. We encourage you to click on their seller IDs and visit their eBay auctions.

Roxanne Sebastian
The Godmother

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Member’s Pick: Check out this Website!

by marketpl Judy

Crystalline Glazed Porcelain Pottery

CRYSTALLINE GLAZES truly present an artistic wedding of chemistry and nature. Although difficult to produce, the rewards can be great. Glaze crystals spontaneously form and grow in the molten glazes while the pieces are cooling in the kiln. The largest crystals take up to twelve hours to grow. The size and shape of the crystal is somewhat controllable through experience and careful attention to the firing cycle; the placement and number of crystals is not, meaning that each piece is one-of-a-kind.

Click the hand spiral logo to visit this site which explains just about everything you'd ever want to know about crystalline pottery and glazes.

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Don’t You Wish You Had One of These?

by wgpaul

Photo Courtesy of TreasureQuest Auction Galleries

TreasureQuest Auction Galleries, Inc. offered a rare and wonderful piece of American art pottery circa 1906 by artist Marie Hoa de LaBlank which sold for $22,000 on eBay. The wonderful find was discovered in a South Florida estate during an appraisal visit by the company’s owners, Tim Luke and Greg Strahm, both members of the International Society of Appraisers. “My heart stopped when I spotted the vase resting on the top shelf in the back of the closet,” commented Greg Strahm. “Both Tim & I were very excited about the find and assured our client that we would do extensive research to ensure the best possible price.”

It was in 1894 that the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College established a vocational training program for young women artists. The goal was to provide employment for graduates when there were few work opportunities for women. The studio business produced some 70,000 pieces designed by approximately 90 women artists between 1895 and 1940.

This vase, a fine example of Newcomb College pottery measuring 14”, employs the use of irises in its overall design and because this is an artist piece, no two vases are exactly alike. The piece has the artist’s signature and is the finest example of pottery offered by TreasureQuest to date. “We are thrilled with the selling price of the vase and hope to find more treasures like this one buried on the treasure coast,” commented Tim Luke.

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It happens every day! You anticipate receiving an item you won at auction. It arrives, and you open the box to see...pottery shards or slivers of glass!

Have you noticed how some auction photos just seem to scream “BUY ME!” while others are so fuzzy and far away you’re not sure what is being offered?

We share a few practical tips on photo taking and packing to help you get that item safely to your buyer! Our GPSA website offers a more in-depth look at valuable packing and photo tips. Please visit and have a look around!

We're switching gears this time around with other helpful hints!

How to do a partial refund in Paypal:

This tip is geared to sellers. If you need to refund part of a Paypal payment (perhaps for postage overcharge, damage, etc.), don't process it as a new payment to the buyer, that will cost the buyer the Paypal processing fee. Instead follow the instructions below for a partial refund, which reduces the Paypal fee YOU paid for the original payment to you, and costs the buyer nothing. You have up to 60 days to refund all or part of a Paypal payment.

Typing Tips

Have you ever been typing in a discussion board, chat room, email, or even in your auction listing and wanted to use a certain symbol? Here we offer a few handy keystroke tips. Tips for PCs are listed first, Macs second. (alt + 0162) means while holding down the ALT key, use the numeric keyboard pad (usually to the right of the regular keys, and make sure the NUM LOCK key is pressed or lit up) and punch in the numbers, 0162, then release all keys. (Option + 4) means while holding down the Option key (may also be called Alt) press the number 4.

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No reserve clearance sales, less than ONE DOLLAR!

GPSA sellers are still listing clearance items. All items start at an opening bid of 99¢. Don’t miss this opportunity to pick up a bargain from one of our reliable GPSA sellers! All sellers abide by the GPSA guidelines found on our home page.

Find a bargain! Deals and Steals!

To see Shazaam listings at any time, click here. Check back often — sellers add items all the time!


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Welcome New Members

We’re so happy to have you join us!!

The following eBay sellers became GPSA members in July and August 2005. As members of the GPSA, they have committed to upholding the standards of the Glass & Pottery Sellers’ Association.

  • jades911
Welcome New Members
  • foliesdantan

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