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Can You Help Identify? November 30

Every once in a while we like to feature some of the “can you help identify this” posts from our readers on the Dusty Old Thing Facebook page. The nice thing about social media is that we get to share knowledge and ideas…and even guesses. Our readers have all kinds of differing levels of experience and knowledge and we all like to have fun.

So, for your Saturday morning enjoyment, here are a few. Hopefully we can help identify some or all of of these and, hopefully, they are all antiques!

from: Betty Westbrook: “Can you give us any info on this urn? My daughter inherited it from her grandfather. We’d love to have any ideas re the country of origin and perhaps the age. Thank you.”

Decorative ewers have had multiple revivals of popularity over the centuries, due in a large part to their representation in classical paintings, including those with a religious theme. While ones like Betty’s are elaborate for most of today’s tastes, this type was very popular in the late 19th century up to about 1910. Betty’s has the classic metalwork of many of the most elaborate ones, including the putti and a dragon (look right beneath the spout to see the dragon). Notice that the putto (cherub) at the top is holding a burning torch…a symbol with many meanings that is sometimes seen in classical paintings such as “Fire” by Francois Boucher or even in ancient marble reliefs showing scenes of marriage. Dragons were also frequently included in the metal decorative arts, often as handles of bronze cast pieces. Part of the appeal came from the Aesthetic movement’s fascination with allegory and medieval images and part from the emerging fondness for the curving lines of Art Nouveau.

Decorative ewers historically were practical, holding wine or water. They generally had lids. Some had matching basins. Elaborate ones were created for royalty. Later, during Victorian times, they often were just decorative and, sometimes, were parts of mantle sets that included a clock. Many of the makers of decorative art metal work in Europe, Asia and the United States made ewers, many with glass or porcelain bodies. What seems to be unusual with Betty’s is the painted scene which appears to show a distant landscape behind the more traditional flowers in the foreground. We’d love to know more about it!

Readers, what do you think? Can you give any ideas as to the country of origin and a potential maker?

from: Jennifer Parsons Hicks: “We have this old oil portrait of a man that we have no idea who he is. My daughter was so fascinated with the fine detailing of the face so I purchased it for her. He looks like he is wearing a black robe.”

So readers, who is this gentleman? It appears to be a very well-done portrait. Why has he gotten lost? Who is he??

from: Connie Estes Meeks: “This was given to me by my Grandmother. It is marked Fleetwood. They are over 100 years old and I wish I knew more about them”

It is always interesting to see a matched set of anything cranberry that has been hand-painted. Who was Fleetwood?

from: Shawn Hainline. Shawn writes that this this tapestry was inherited from a great-aunt and asks “Can anyone tell me something about it?” A closeup is below. (The cat got in the photo by accident…as all of us who have cats know, that happens all the time.)

from: Shawn Hainline: “I inherited this tapastry from my great aunt, can anyone tell me something about it?”

So, readers, what do you think? Notice that the tapestry includes scenes of a person on horseback.

Thanks to everyone who has shared their “whatisits” and who enjoys finding out about how “our things” relate to our history.

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