Flowers were an important part of the lives of Americans from the 1880s to 1950s. Technology had advanced to a time when pottery could be made in multiples in molds and large kilns.
New types of plants had been introduced to the country, flower arrangements were a sign of wealth and good taste. Formal gardens were important.
Collectors can find many flower vases by Rookwood, Weller, Roseville, Grueby, Fulper and many other important factories. And urns, flower vases, wall pockets, flower frogs and even chairs, benches, garden ornaments and fountains were popular.
Life-sized frogs, rabbits, turtles, squirrels, even deer, dogs, elves and large mushrooms were created to display outdoors.
Talented artists made the expensive garden fountains. Many were sculptures of groups of children with birds, fish, plants, shells and large rocks.
The Rookwood Pottery started making architectural pottery fountains in 1902 that were groups about 3- to 5-feet high, with water pouring from rock crevices or mouths of large fish.
Today, a Rookwood fountain can sell for $3,000 to $8,000, depending on the artist, subject and condition. It is not unusual to have many chips, stains even firing cracks in a fountain after years outside, but it still sells for thousands of dollars.
It also pays to get expert repairs that will raise the value and add to the life of the fountain. A Rookwood fountain sold by Brunk auctions a few years ago brought $2,300 even though it was damaged.
Wear and tear on a garden piece adds to the romance and aged look. Check the backyards of house sales or even houses for sale for overlooked fountains and birdbaths or ornaments. You might find a forgotten treasure.
I have a print by Henry Aiken and wonder if you could tell me anything about it — the year and someplace besides eBay where I can sell it.
Henry Thomas Aiken (1785-1851) was a British artist known for his pictures of sporting scenes. Some of his oil paintings sell at auction for thousands of dollars, but many original works have been reproduced and are available online for as little as $10 or less.
Your print should be seen by an expert to determine if it is an original and what its value might be. If it’s an original, it would sell for a satisfactory price at an auction.
Fan, mother-of-pearl, folding, silver gilt overlay, women, landscape, 10 1/2 x 20 inches, $75.
Tea caddy, Georgian, mahogany, inlaid, octagonal, foil lined, bone escutcheon, handles, 5 x 8 3/8 inches, $175.
Tile, Carmel Mission, cloud, sky, hills, California Faience, 5 1/2 inches, $440.
Lighter, table, enamel, lacquer, ants, butterflies, beetles, black, Dunhill, England, 4 x 3 1/4 inches, $1,125.
Tip: Think about the problems of owning a cat and a large collection of ceramics.