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Ruby Lane Past Times Newsletter for March
Past Times __________________________________________________________________ In 1893, Wilder A. Pickard established the Pickard China company
The monthly newsletter from Ruby Lane Antiques, Collectibles,
Fine Art, and Artisans
Welcome to Past Times!
IN THIS ISSUE:
o Pickard China: An American Story of Beautiful Hand Painted
Porcelain By Art Tedeschi of eCollectics
HAND PAINTED PORCELAIN BY ART TEDESCHI OF
in Edgerton, Wisconsin. One wonders if he could have ever
envisioned the company, which still bears his family name,
producing some of the most beautiful and recognizable china in
the world, well over 100 years later.
The story of Pickard china, in my opinion, is a great American
story. It is a story of innovation, success, perseverance, and
tradition. A story that has been passed down through four
generations of the Pickard family, about a product which still
today is hand crafted by skilled American artisans.
The Pickard legacy is deeply rooted in the first forty years of
its existence. A great deal of their success can be tied
directly to the unique hand painted treasures produced during
those early years, by its talented professional
artists/decorators. Those individual works of art had a very
elegant and distinguishable "look," despite the fact that they
were intended for practical use in the home. It was during this
time that Pickard established itself as the foremost "American"
china decorating studio. Ironically, many Pickard artists were
born in Europe, where they were classically trained and worked
throughout the finest European porcelain factories of the time.
They arrived at our shore, as did so many others, on the tidal
wave of immigration that occurred around the turn of the
But there was more to Pickard's success than just the way it
looked. In the early 1900s, there were historic social forces
at work throughout the country. Americans were becoming more
and more interested in our own arts and crafts movement. Even
more importantly, American women were becoming more aware of
their role is our society, as both a consumer and an active
member of the work force. By 1905, American hand painted china
was immensely popular. It's estimated that there were 20,000
professional china decorators nation-wide. Many of those were
women, who had found an occupation considered "socially
acceptable," which provided for their financial needs and
satisfied their need for artistic expression. By 1916, over one
hundred china decorating studios thrived throughout the Chicago
area. Today, only one of those survives.
For years, the Pickard "look" was familiar to a devoted, yet
relatively small, group of passionate collectors. Over the last
few years, with the advent of the Internet and the success of
online malls, shops, and auction sites, the name Pickard has
spread far and wide among those with an affinity for fine hand
painted porcelain. Collectors, both seasoned and new, marvel at
the magnificent pieces of Pickard china that have become
available in the marketplace. As usually happens, however,
along with the notoriety has come an increase in prices,
particularly for the most unique, oldest, and visually-stunning
items. Currently, the record auction price for a single piece
of early Pickard porcelain is near the $10,000 mark. However,
such rare items are extremely few and far between, and truly
gorgeous examples of Pickard's work can be found at a price to
fit any budget.
As I said earlier, I really believe that the Pickard story is a
terrific "American" story. Two wonderful reference books on the
subject exist, and are highly recommended. The most definitive
work is the Collector's Encyclopedia of Pickard China, by the
late Alan B. Reed. The pictures are breathtaking, and the
narrative is a must-read for any Pickard enthusiast. The book
also features sections on some of the other major Chicago-area
studios of the time, including the Stouffer, Donath, and Brauer
studios, as well as other historical data, studio
identification marks, artist profiles, and a price guide. (Be
sure to get the year 2000 edition.) Another excellent reference
book is entitled The Story of Pickard China, written by Dorothy
Pickard Platt, the daughter of Wilder A. Pickard. The book was
published in 1970 and offers a personal view of Pickard, both
the man and the company he founded. In addition, there is the
Pickard Collectors' Club, a terrific source of information for
Pickard lovers, which can be located online at
Pickard..........you know it's a "look" you'll never forget.
We invite you to visit Art's shop: eCollectics.
In 1893, Wilder A. Pickard established the Pickard China company
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