Saturday, January 21, 2012

Collecting Rose Medallion

Rose Medallion Pottery was a product made exclusively for export by China and chiefly exported to the United States and England from 1850 until the early 20th Century. It is distinguished by its delicate pink under-glaze over ivory colored porcelain. The motif is always four painted panels depicting alternate scenes of birds and animals and scenes of people in a home setting arranged like petals around a central medallion showing a bird and a tree peony. There are other similar styles of porcelain that depict the same designs which are called Famille Rose, Roses Canton, and Rose Mandarin but only the Rose medallion will depict the people in alternating panels. Rose Medallion had a consistent color scheme as well. Enameled pink in various tones, mostly pastel, combined with green, red, blue, yellow and gold. Due to age, any gilding will display more of a golden-brown to bronze tone rather than a shiny, perfected gold.

As a collector one should appreciate the hand painting applied under the glaze with the gold embellishment applied over the glaze. The older pieces will show an artists pride in small details and consistent color use. Also notice the marks, painted and impressed. The impressed mark is the pottery mark which indicates that the master of the pottery approved of the form and then the painted marks indicate the glazier and the painter. These marks will indicate the the piece was made prior to 1891. This is because the McKinley tariff of 1890 required that all exports be marked with their country of origin. Therefor, any Rose medallion made after 1891 will be marked "Made In china", "China" (in red or in a rectangle). Some collectors seek only the pieces from before this time because they have become quite rare.

Rose medallion can be found in cups (with or without handles), saucers, plates, bowls, vases and table service pieces. Rose Medallion was made in every form of table service ware and decorative art. Rarer forms will be jewelry trays, candle sticks, and any form other than round. Quite fine collections can be found at "The Helena and William Schulte Gallery of Chinese Art" in Daytona Beach, The White House in Washington D.C., and our small but impressive collection here at Charlotte Elliott.

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