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Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 5770
Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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Robert I have what I believe to be an old Italian vase I

Customer Question

Hi Robert I have what I believe to be an old Italian vase I am just trying to place a date on it
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Robert S. replied 2 years ago.
Hi! This is Robert here, thanks for asking me about your vase, I would be happy to help with it.
Could you very kindly add another couple of photos, one of the entire bottom (whether it's marked or not) and one of the whole vase.
Also, how tall is it?
Many thanks and wait to hear,
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Robert I want to add to my first question about the Italian vase. I farm for a living and became very busy and didn't have time to get back with the information you had requested including pictures. The vase is just over 16 inches about 2/8 of an inch over. My first request was closed I have written to just answer to have it reopened.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I believe I was able to add what you have asked for I have taken another picture of the other side of the vase. The paint has peeled away a bit in places .I don't know if it would be wise to have it restored or not.
Expert:  Robert S. replied 2 years ago.
No problem. Thanks for getting back in touch again and I would be happy to continue here on this thread with an answer for you. I work 'on' but not 'for' the site as an independent appraiser so I've no executive power in the daily operations of the JustAnswer site, but I'm sure you won't have been charged anything for the old question (as you didn't get an answer), but I would make sure to ask to have your good faith deposit refunded, or transferred to this question.I see you have just added photos, so I'll look at those now and have a full answer for you as soon as I can.Best wishes,Robert PS. Meanwhile, please don't rate me until you get an answer from me you like. This is because you may get random prompts asking you to rate me before I've submitted an answer, ignore them, they are automatically generated by the site (it doesn't seem to be able to distinguish an answer from preparatory back and forth and information gathering) and don't come from me. Thanks, ***** ***** I like you already because you farm! I was also a farmer. A long time ago in Ireland and almost long enough ago to have forgotten the perpetual aches and exhaustion and to hanker for it again!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Robert Thank you for waiting for my information. And I like that you farmed amazing what did you farm? It is hard work but it can be rewarding. I don't think usually a farmer is paid in full for what they do. But there's a lot of feeling of gratitude when there's a nice crop in the field and its successfully taken off. I get a good feeling about you also :) Bonny
Expert:  Robert S. replied 2 years ago.
Hi Bonny,I've had a good long look at this vase and I'm now fairly certain what I'm seeing.With pieces of Italian majolica, that are obviously old looking like this, one has to decide whether one has an example of 19th century revival istoriato ('historical' or narrative works typical of the Renaissance) popular and numerous in their day, or an authentic example from the glorious flowering of 16th century Italian majolica from the likes of Faenza, Castel Durante, Cafaggiolo, Deruta, Gubbio, Urbino or Venice and so on, in other words the scattered centers of Italian Renaissance painted pottery, which are extremely rare and up to a hundred times more valuable.When a piece has as much damage to the glaze as this, and looks so rough round the footrim it's easy to be fooled into thinking it's older than it is, but what you have here is almost certainly 19th century istoriato revival reproduction. The draftsmanship of the painting is just not up to the standard of the 16th century equivalent and nor are the proportions and modeling of the relief decoration. Having said that it has some splendid candelieri (arabesque) ornamentation including an unusual female grotesque wearing the Prince of Wales feathers.This flattened bottle form is called a "pilgrim flask" and the originals were fitted with a threaded cap or stopper (if yours has a screw threading on the inside of the rim let me know). There's a famous one of these very similar in design to yours in the Paul Getti museum with coiling 'beards' issuing from the rams mask and serpentine horns that serve as loop handles, which was made in the 16th century by Oratio Fontana in Urbino. over the years there have been many reproductions, especially in the 19th century.Despite the damage your antique reproduction Urbino pilgrim flask would be quite sought after. If you were to sell at a good antique auction house, even in its current condition, it would easily fetch in the range of $300 - $500. It therefore has a full replacement value of $900 and is what you should insure it for.It's not worth having it restored unless you intend to do it for your own benefit as any increase in value (and it would not be much) by doing so would less than the cost of the professional repair. If you still wish to confirm its age, there is only one sure way of doing it and that is by a relatively new method of dating analysis called thermoluminescence, or TL for short.Unfortunately it's (a) very expensive and (b) requires drilling a small hole in the pottery, in order to get a clay sample. And the probability is that in this case, it's only going to confirm the 19th century date it looks to be.Just for curiosity value, though, it's worth reading about TL analysis here: Hope this is helpful information.Best wishes,Robert. PS. I farmed way back in the late 1970s and 1980s, mainly dairy and truck farming, all organic, in the days when none of us had much clue what we were doing because there was no-one to learn from. Most of us back then operated by trial and error simply combining the best of the old (local farming lore from the ancients who remembered the pre-synthetic fertilizer age) and the best of the new: polyethylene greenhouses and precision seed drills an so on.You are right, the revenue one gets falls far short of the cost in blood, sweat and tears -but then my quote on the matter has always been that: "farming is no paid vacation --more an unpaid vocation". I do miss that wonderful satisfaction (yes it is certainly 'gratitude' as you say) of "harvest home" at summer's end, and each spring the promise that the coming season will be the perfect one, the perpetual triumph of hope over reality.....or is that just a gambler's high!? R.