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Exquisite Antique 10" Pair of French Mantel Vases, Ovington - French made for Ovington, NYC
The mark on the base might well be that of Vincent Dubois, founded in 1773, but the date would seem odd. We rather think it is a Samson mark, early rather than late. Samson is a company that made very high quality goods that were similar to firms such as Meissen or Sevres, and which today are highly valued for the quality, though not quite so highly valued as their models from Meissen or Sevres. The underglaze notation that this set was made in France for retail through Ovington, NY, helps us put a date and origin to these stunning large hand painted porcelain mantel vases as late 1800s to as late as . The era from 1840s to the beginning of the 'Belle Epoch' or turn of the century, c 1895, found French tablewares such as this fine set distributed throughout the USA via shops like Tiffany, Ovingtons, and others in NYC and Chicago, and we suspect this set came to the USA with that early wave of French finery (late 1800s). The famed 1800s luxury retailer, Ovington's was closed in 1895, their goods seized under a debt claim, after having suffered a great loss due to fire in their Brooklyn building. The firm recovered and was at 39th and 5th Ave, NYC until 1940s, but goods would have been marked 'Ovington Bros' in the company's 20th c. For over half a century, Ovington (and then Ovington Bros) had been a 'Tiffany'-like retailer. They opened in 1840, established by H.A. Ovington. The famed retailer was noted for bringing in the most elegant and opulent housewares from European and UK makers, and many of the finest antique tablewares will be found to bear the Ovington name in the same manner as do these. This set is likely much earlier, c. 1870-90s, since it does not mention 'Ovington Bros'. That said, these stunning and large vases are each hand painted on both sides, featuring exotic birds (4) in cartouche on facing sides, and a raised and gilted gadroon border, gold accents throughout. A paler cobalt blue ground color throughout, which remains beautiful today. The set is stunning - we should show them each filled with flowers, and will if I can get out to buy some this week.
Very good to excellent condition, these have survived in finest form. No chips or cracks, not even much if any loss to the hand painted cartouche, any gold only or trim. I really see nothing to report apart from a bit of discoloration of use in the interior bottom, which might well come off if the next owner feels like applying a bit of elbow grease. They are masterfully crafted and remain stunning more than 100 years later. Large and very impressive in size! And yes, again, it is a matching pair offered together.
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Susan Dean, San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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