Offering for sale a fabulous find; a mid 1800's antique papier mache round tray with handles, with a center painting; and we really mean a painting, not just some hand painted flowers, but a significant work of art created on this lovely piece. This is a large piece, measuring 18 & 7/8" at the handles. It features a background of black lacquer over the papier mache, with gold decorations on the handles, gold tipped rim, gold inner ring; and an outside round border of very subtle flowers of red with green leaves and gold vines attaching them. All this is original. In the entire center of this platter is an actual painting, not just simple painted decorations, but an actual planned floral original painting. While leaving open the possibility that this platter was born this way, we think not. It appears to us that the original or prior owner of this piece chose to use this as their backing for a beautiful work of art, painted over what ever original decorations were in the center with a background cover painting and then these magnificent flowers. Why we think so is we can see faint lines when holding this piece sideways to the light where the old decorations were placed, they appeared to be larger shapes of the small ones on the border. Although this would have been a valuable tray with the original decorations, now it is a masterpiece and one of a kind piece of art. Notice how the artist choose her color palette to mirror the shades on the original border, similar in color so from the distance this looks all original. Her brush strokes are wonderful, all very evident, and the shadings of the individual flowers very lovely. Sure wish she had signed this ! As to condition, the tray has no significant cracks, there is a small chipped off area on the edge, see photo. We will be glad to offer advice to the new owner as to how to repair or fill this is you desire, it is a lot easier than one would think. However, as a lover of antiques, we are not at all bothered by such a small area, as it does not at all affect any of the original decorations nor the fabulous painting. There are a few expected age dings here and there, but overall in really nice condition, and a one of a kind treasure for the collector. We almost listed this in the fine art section, it definitely qualifies. The tray is mid to late 1800's, the painting circa 1900 at the latest.
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