This mark was used on French Quimperware pottery made by the De la Hubaudière factory from 1883 to 1895.
You might wonder when watching the appraisers at “Antiques Roadshow” just how they can determine so much information about a teacup or platter simply by turning them upside down. The fact is the markings that are stamped, painted or impressed on the underside of most ceramic items can tell a great deal about a piece other than just its maker.
What the appraiser is looking for is historical reference points that they have learned through years of research and study of pottery and porcelain items. What few people are aware of is that it’s not just the name of the company name—such as Rookwood, Weller or Royal Doulton —stamped on the piece that tells the tale, but a number of things used within the mark itself. The actual dating of a piece is much like detective work, and the company name itself only gives the appraiser a rough timeline of when the company was known to operate.
Other factors, such as the color of the mark, how it’s applied or the numbered codes within the design can often date a piece to the exact year it was produced. Famous companies such as Wedgwood, Minton’s, Derby and Worcester have all used a variety of numerical or symbol codes that, with a quick look in a reference book, will provide the exact date of production.
Even without a reference of pottery/porcelain marks there are a few “Pro Points” that you can copy or memorize to help you date pottery and porcelain:
• Small, hand-written marks tend to be pre-1800s.
• Kite-shaped marks with ” Rd.” in the center are English and were used from 1842-83.
• Printed/stamped marks in colors other than blue tend to be post-1850.
• The use of the word “Royal” before a company name tend to be used after 1850.
• The use of the term “LTD” or ” Limited” appear after 1860.
• The use of the word ” Trademark” tends to be used after 1862.
• The use of registration numbers such as “Rd No.10057” begin in 1884.
• Items marked Nippon generally date from 1891-1921.
• The name of a country with the stamp indicates where the piece was made dates from 1891.
• Company marks in gold, or the mention of “24K Gold” on gilded pottery or porcelain is generally mid 20th century.
These are not hard and fast rules, as there are some exceptions, depending on the individual company. In the case of the stamp shown at the top of the column, it’s one of these exceptions. This mark was used on French Quimperware pottery made by the De la Hubaudière factory from 1883 to 1895. It is hand-painted, whereas the “rules” would indicate it should be a pre-1800 piece.
Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.
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