If you ever watch the Antiques Roadshow where the appraiser says “You know that most items like this are usually not worth a lot. Well,” and then he pauses a bit, “this is not one of those.” That accurately describes this antique porcelain Royal Worcester Basket Weave Lidded Potpourri Vase or Jar.
There is a funny story that goes with how I obtained this wonderful treasure. I had previewed an auction the day before and saw this item and put it at the very top of my list. I knew it was special and I immediately thought of the Antiques Roadshow when he talked about the highly decorated English Vases from Royal Worcester, Minton, Spode, Wedgwood etc and also remembered some of the wonderful pieces we had seem at the great museums in London we visited in the summer . I researched it a bit more and saw smaller examples affording some quite high prices. The next day the auction was really long, and I mean really really long. I had purchased many items and we were quite tired, and I was debating do I stay or do I go as the song goes. The item came up, I grabbed my paddle and I was ready. The bidding started low and the auctioneer was looking at me , as I buy a lot of china and porcelain, and I raised my paddle and kept it up the whole time. The auctioneer took my bid and immediately looked down to check for Internet bids which there was one, and he raised the bid. At the same time a lady apparently some ways behind me, raised her paddle and the watcher shouted bid, but the lady put her paddle down, so when the auctioneer looked up, he saw my bid as my paddle was still up and pointed to me. This happened a few times, but the lady did not realize that the auctioneer was pointing at me not at her, and as happens with internet bids I guess the connection was lost or something so after a couple of rounds of bidding this wonderful item was mine at a steal. The lady when she realized I had won the item, was mad, I mean steaming mad , furious, stormed to the front of the auction to speak with the auctioneer. I was so happy and unbelievably surprised.
The top of the jar and lid of square holes so you can rotate the lid to open or hide these holes, so was perfect for potpourri. It is decorated with an interlaced weave of porcelain lovely red and gold sheen and a with a leafy vine design over the top of it. It has an almost oriental looking design. The finial is on the lid is charming. These details were the height of later Victorian designs of the period. This particular example is much larger than standard vases or jars and in fact other examples I have found during my research are much smaller. I have seen items like this in the Victoria and Albert and other museums.
Royal Worcester is one of the oldest porcelain manufactures in England that began manufacturing in 1751. On the bottom it is marked pattern 884 and has a cypher “V” date code indicating that this was made in 1887 so this is over 125 years old. This is certainly my find of the year.