This is a hard paste porcelain letter holder. The maker is Samson. The date is circa 1890.
Samson was a company that specialized in recreating pieces from other regions and times. The letter holder is meant to be an English Chantilly with a Japanese Kakiemon décor.
The holder is 4 ¾” high, 5 7/8” long and 1 ¼” wide.
In simple terms, Kakiemon is a region of Japan that developed a technique for firing enamels over the glaze on pottery and porcelain. In the last part of the 19th century, the era of Japonisme, decorators in German, England and France employed these decorating techniques and the Kakiemon colors and designs. This letter holder is one such example. The designs are outlined in black or red, and colored in red, green, blue and gold, with some of the enamel raised.
The design is one of flowers growing on a tree in a pot. The bottom is banded in gilded metal or brass. The edges are trimmed in gold. There is a round metal decoration at the top that goes through the porcelain.
There are no nicks, chips, cracks or crazing. The top edge shows an area of discoloration that is smooth to the touch and some fading of the gold. The metal shows some patina aging.
The hand enameled mark on the bottom is meant to look like a Chantilly mark.
French Samson Letter Holder Chantilly Kakiemon c 1890