Jan 05, 2024

Containers want for food and wicker

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Q These two lunch pails have been in my family since before 1950, if not earlier. They are porcelain, with clip on tin lids and both measure 10 cm high (4 inches). The square one is 16.5 x 15 cm (6.5 x 6 inches) and the rectangular one – 10 x 25 cm (4 x 10 inches). The blue marks on the porcelain include ‘Adde et Bascaudas et Mille Escaria’ and a human figure. Thanks for any information you can provide.

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Leigh, Ottawa

A Your picnic basket/hamper containers were sold by G.W. Scott and Sons of London, England – a company founded in 1661. The firm invented the wicker picnic basket in 1851 showing their fine wicker goods that same year at the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace of Hyde Park, London. Your containers date circa the 1920s and a luxury picnic basket ensemble might feed six people and include metal cutlery, ceramic butter and mustard jars, enamel ware plates and wicker-covered glass flasks. The Spanish variant phrase loosely translates to ‘food baskets and thousands of things to eat.’ Complete baskets sell for a thousand dollars. Your pairing could fill a hamper gap for $125.

Q I purchased this uniquely shaped vase for $100 at an antiques auction held at the Hellenic Community Centre in Ottawa in 1975. It was sold to me as an 18th century vase from France. Standing approximately 39 cm tall (15.5 inches) it is also supposed to be crystal which is covered in gold and tiny enamelled and applied porcelain flowers. It would be great to have a better idea of what this really is and where it is from. Thank you.

Mary, Ottawa

A Your show-stopper was made circa 1900. The enterprise of Ludwig Moser, who owned a serious glass enamelling business in Karlsbad, Bohemia (now Karlovy Vary) made this piece. Your vase was created with a great deal of hand work and a look through the bottom reveals a polished pontil mark and confirms an amber glass body – not crystal – that accentuates the lavish gold-covered exterior. Check for a tiny ‘Moser’ signature on the underside and body. Anonymously, your large and impressive vase is worth $175 – a signature will make it $400.

Q We have a set of four chairs that have been passed down from my Aunt who was a Millinery buyer for Henry Morgan and Company in Montreal. She traveled throughout Europe and North America often bringing home gifts and furnishings. But I have no idea how this set came into her possession. The chairs are 86 cm high (34 inches) and inlaid and the seats were packed with horsehair material. There are no visible markings. I would like to find out more about where they were manufactured and their value. I believe they might be French or even American circa late 1700s or early 1800s based on the arched back and oblong shaped rear legs. Thank you.

Gerry, Ottawa

A You have done some great research on a wonderful chair set that can give false first impressions. The general back style and turned front legs quickly suggest the 1860s – or even good reproductions circa 1900. But the round back legs, as you observed coupled with subtle but good wear speak 19th century. The striking inlay has a hint of Grecian ‘keys’ and the ‘all sides curved’ seat frame, coupled with grooved front leg decoration are forms of 1820s English Regency. They are mahogany and could have been part of a parlour suite with couches and armchairs. In time, your fabulous and rare set could find an appreciative audience at a value of $1,500 today.

John Sewell is an antiques and fine art appraiser. To submit an item to his column, go to the ‘Contact John’ page at Please measure your piece, say when and how you got it, what you paid and list any identifying marks. A high-resolution jpeg photo must also be included. (Only email submissions accepted.)

* Appraisal values are estimates only.*

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