Antiques expert Allan Blackburn takes a look at a particularly exquisite find...
I am always looking for things I can resell in the centre. I have my own stand at GB and am on the look out for something rare, valuable or just different. This week a trader came in to see me and offered me the opportunity to buy an Amphora pot and I am so excited about it, I wanted to share it with you.
Considering how many pieces of pottery or porcelain I see every week, it’s surprising that pieces like this don’t come to my attention more often. But the truth is, that something this special and beautiful is a rare find.
I absolutely love this vase. It has a lovely paint inlay and I think there must be at least 12 layers of paint to get the perfect enamelled, shiny finish. It was made at the turn of the century about 1900 – 1910 and although Amphora pottery itself isn’t rare, this is the nicest example of it, I think I have ever seen.
Amphora by definition means a large, two-handled Grecian vase. But it is also the collective name for pottery in this style made in Austria.
The first Amphora wares were made in 1892 by three companies who evolved together to eventually be known as Reissner, Stellmacher & Kessel. Their stunning pottery (urns, vases, figurines and busts) were famous for combining unusual shapes with striking enamels and glazes. It was founded by Alfred Stellmacher and is still recognised today as being the best manufacture of Amphora products.
The name “Amphora” is not unique to this company though. Collectively any companies making this style of pottery could class themselves as “Amphora” – the most common being “Amphora Works” or the Amphora Porcelain Factory”.
The maker’s mark on the base of all this style of pottery is strong and simply states “Amphora” so it’s easy for collectors to recognise exactly what they are buying. Some pieces were functional, but the vast majority are purely for display and admiration, with companies employing very talented modelers and designers.
If I were to compare it to something from this country, I would compare it to Moorcroft because the quality is exceptional, it is very easily recognisable as well as being highly prized and collectable.
Amphora ware sets itself apart from other European wares by it’s exceptional masterful application of special glazes and good pieces like this one, are prized all over the world.