Saturday, January 3, 2004

Ceramic cottages held incense

Antiques detective

By Anne Gilbert
Enquirer contributor

Good examples of the changing tastes of collectors are the miniature ceramic cottages and castles made in England and Scotland from the early 19th to early 20th century. Among top-quality makers were Derby, Worcester, Rockingham, Swansea, Coalport and many of the Staffordshire potters, such as Copeland and Minton.

Less well-known are pieces made at the Goss factory. Yet in 1912, there were 1,000 members of the League of Goss Collectors.

Many early pieces were used to burn incense. The little cottages were referred to as pastille burners. The roof and walls were lifted off the base.

Sizes of these ceramic pieces varied from a 31/2-inch-tall cottage to a 12-inch replica of a town hall that doubled as a watch holder.

Dwellings made by the Goss factory were Parian ware (an unglazed porcelain that resembles marble). Goss, hoping to capture the American market, made models of Massachusetts Hall and that state's Holden Chapel. He also made a replica of Sulgrave Manor of Northhampton, England, where George Washington's great-grandfather was born.

Among the most rare and expensive ceramic models are the detailed toy villages made by Staffordshire potters around 1810. Painted in simulated bright red bricks, they have store signs such as "Baker" and "Confectioner."

The more unusual the subject, the more expensive it is. A Staffordshire spill vase in the form of a fort could sell for $1,500.


I bought an oval library table at an estate auction in Kings Mills. The seller said it came from the King mansion, whose owners owned the King's Powder plant. Any idea of its age and value?

Your American (Federal, 1805-1810) center table, if authentic, could sell for at least $7,000.

Contact Anne Gilbert by mail: c/o Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202. Photos cannot be returned.

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