This Old Thing: an artist serves a tasty plate of fruit

Q This fruit plate is signed J. Freeman and came home with my father, who was works manager at the Royal Worcester factory in Worcester, England from 1946 to 1957. It is a “second” and n does not have the Royal Worcester mark on the bottom. It has a diameter of 27 centimeters (10.6 inches.) With this provenance, I am interested in knowing its value.

A. The talented man who hand painted this lovely plate was nicknamed “the fruit machine”, as he was one of the most prolific fruit painters of his time. John Freeman was born in 1911 and joined the Worcester factory in 1925 aged 14, and remained there for the rest of his life. This plate is an original work of art that bears the prestige of the artist‘s name, which justifies the history of its famous associated company. Bone china with a high-quality artist-signed fruit painting has enjoyed a resurgence which is seen in many high prices achieved for similar cups and saucers today. Even without the Worcester brand, your plate is worth $350.

Q This canteen has a screw cap. It is in good condition apart from its strap which has disappeared. The bottom is marked “Gilbert Sculptor, Bourne Denby England” and it measures approximately 18cm high (seven inches). I have tried in vain over the years to find anything about it.

bed warmer

A. You will only serve warm sheets with this bed warmer, by filling it with very hot water and then slipping it between the sheets. It was made by the Bourne Pottery Company, founded by Joseph Bourne, in Denby, England in the 1930s. Donald Gilbert was the designer who made many different animal designs for the company, including dogs Scottie, penguins and lovebirds. The company was later renamed Denby Tableware. Figurative bed warmers are particularly collectible, especially in England. This one, with a cat staring at a mouse, is worth around $125.

Q This wall plaque belonged to my parents in Germany. In the 1980s, my sister gave it to me. It is in good condition, although the gold border has faded a bit. The diameter is 41 cm (16 inches) and on the back it is marked “Mettlach”.

Mettlach Plate

A. This dish features a design by German artist and illustrator Heinrich Schlitt (1849-1923), known for creating scenes from a fantasy world. He made a few and this one, with a gnome and insects, is model no. 2113. It was made for a period around 1900 in Mettlach, Germany, by Villeroy & Boch – best known for its artistic and very decorative beer mugs. , commonly referred to as “Mettlach mugs”. This is an impressive and wonderfully evasive large piece – welcome in these trying times and worth $1000.

John Sewell is an appraiser of antiques and works of art. To submit an article to his column, go to the ‘Contact John’ page at Please measure your part, say when and how you got it, what you paid for, and list all identifying marks. A high resolution jpeg photo must also be included. (Only email submissions are accepted.) *Assessment values ​​are estimates only.*

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