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The Collector’s Minute: Hand-Painted Porcelain

by Mike Wilcox (02/14/14).

Nineteenth-century Bavarian tea sets like this can be a bargain for a one-of-a-kind item.

This partial tea set is hand-painted porcelain and dates from the turn of the 19th century.

Pieces like this are generally what are referred to as “studio pottery,” getting their name from the fact most pottery of this type was hand-painted by decorating or pottery studios in both the USA and Europe between 1880 and the First World War.

Some of these pieces are signed and dated by the artist who decorated them. This one is simply signed “Walker.” Unfortunately, the work of many of these studios and the signatures of the artists who decorated them are undocumented or little reference material for them is available at the present time.

Z.S. & Co, Bavaria, made porcelain housewares through both world wars until it was liquidated in 1992.

Of the artist known as Walker, we have no listing in any of the standard reference material or databases used to identify markings and signatures for porcelain decorators. The company marking on this set, “Z S & Co Bavaria,” was used by Zeh, Scherzer & Co. from 1880 to 1918.

The company, located in Rehau, Bavaria, Germany, was founded in 1880. It produced a wide range of pieces, including coffee and tea sets, normal household items and tableware, as well as undecorated porcelain blanks.

This particular mark was used in several variations by this company from 1880 until 1918. The company survived both world wars continued to operate until it was taken over by an investment company, Allerthal A.G., in 1991 and its assets liquidated in 1992.

In the current market, these Bavarian hand-painted sets are often a bargain for something that is often one-of-a-kind, often selling at auction for less than $100.


Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.

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