Saturday, April 02, 2016

PH Leonard porcelain hand painted dish, another second hand store find

I wrote in December that I love funky second hand stores because you never know what you will find. At a place down the road from me, I'd found a vintage 1800s book with marbled covers in Swedish and it turned out to be a book of plays by Sweden's most notable playwright. The second hand store isn't a fancy place where one would expect to find such things. But there it was amid the used clothes and wrenches and dented furniture, this little gem.

Yesterday I went back to the store. I hadn't really planned on it. But I was at the Dollar Store and I became so frustrated that I left without acquiring all the things I had on my list. The Dollar Store in my town is one of the fleet's smaller stores, and when they receive the truckload of merchandise in which to stock the shelves, it's impossible to navigate the aisles. And the workers take a long time to unpack it, like days. Aisles were literally blocked by their towering carts of boxes. I gave up and left.

However when one needs kitty litter, one needs kitty litter. You can't skip it. So I went back to the second hand store in hopes there would be some on sale. Looking for that all-important box of clay crumbles, I came across a dish. It was pretty, with what looked to be hand-painted roses, and I guessed it might be porcelain. It was strange to see this delicate dish amid the heaver dishes like stoneware jumbled there on the shelves. Yet there it was. I picked it up to look for a mark and sure enough, a potter's mark was on the back. It was:

A porcelain looking dish with a potter's mark, and only $3? Okey dokey, you had me at roses.

When I got home I started looking up the name of the importer on the mark. It turns out that the importer was PH Leonard, and he imported Limoge china from France and Porcelain from Bohemia. From various descriptions of his business I found on vintage sales sites,
P.H. Leonard, Vienna, Austria. Leonard was a New York importer well known for importing high quality Bohemian, Austrian and French porcelain during the last quarter of the 19th century. It appears that the P.H. Leonard firm went bankrupt sometime around 1898-1900.
This is from a description of a plate that looked like mine except for the mark, though in addition to the mark I'd posted above, there was a red A in script on the back
Circa 1891, Very fine, detailed hand painted and gilded plates with an exceptional reticulated (pierced) border which is both gold gilded and enameled with tiny rich blue designs. The flowers are pink roses on an off white background that has hints of pale blue, lavender and green. Marked Vienna Austria and signed with the initials A.I.D. All four plates are in very fine original condition. 5 3/4" in diameter.
All 4 plates on the above site were selling for $100 so one plate would likely be $25, which is consistent with the sites on ebay and etsy and antiques places I saw for sale. So we're not talking retirement money here, but simply the charm of the hunt and a pretty, vintage item to add to my collection.

This screenshot from Google Books is from a book titled New York's Leading Businesses, 1885. It describes PH Leonard's business as one of the leading businesses of the era.

It's nice to have a pretty little dish. It's nicer to come home and research it and discover another piece of Americana. I don't need a huge home or a fancy car, a few fine touches here and there will do. And the charm of the discovery makes it all the more pleasing. It was a nice way to end the week.


Grace to You said...

What a nice find! I love the lattice-like border.

I'm still looking for jonquil bowls for you occasionally but still no luck.

Elizabeth Prata said...

Aw thanks for keeping the bowls in mind. I have not found any, either. The dish here is a good size, smaller than a dinner plate and larger than a sandwich plate. I think it's a dessert plate but anyway, it suits me.

lena said...

Beautiful piece.

Bonnie Seiwell said...

I'm not sure if you know this, but the plate was most likely sold as a blank and painted by a hobbyist. That doesn't make it bad. Some people say if it's not decorated in the factory or by a decorating studio it's not worth anything, but that's not true. Hobbyist decorated porcelain is very popular. It could have even been purchased or at least painted after PH Leonard went bankrupt. Another piece of information you may be interested in is this.

I was at an auction recently and there was a small bread plate (about 5-6 inches). As an antique dealer specializing in ceramics and glass, there is nothing I could do with a plate that small with chips and most of the gold along the edge worn off. Had there been something else I could have stuck with the plate (since you can pile whatever you want together to bid on) I would have tried to get it, but there was nothing. It wasn't worth the $5 and the buyer's premium. There was only one reason it interested me at all considering the condition. It's the only piece I have ever seen in this particular porcelain blank with a manufacturer's mark. An impressed TK. Gräflich Thun'sche Porzellanfabrik Klösterle (also known as Count Thun Factory) between about 1830 and 1895. (For some reason I have 1889 in one of my listings for the end date, so you may want to double check that. I probably looked at two different sources when I did those listings as they were done months apart. As you obviously know, some sources give different dates. I should actually double check this myself & make sure the information in my store is as accurate as possible). Anyway, PH Leonard imported and sold a lot of porcelain made by the Count Thun factory, it's very common to find a Leonard mark on a piece with an impressed TK. I've also never seen a piece in this blank with another factory mark, I've only seen it with the Leonard importer mark and that one plate with the TK.

Your plate was probably made by the Count Thun factory whether the mark is there or not, but if you haven't already you might want to look closely to see if there is an impressed mark. A lot of people miss them.

Elizabeth Prata said...

Thank you Bonnie! This is great information! I'll check for the impression. :)