Q. These three pieces have been in my garage for years. The set consists of two candelabra and a large bowl supported by a column. They were originally in my in-laws' house in the late 1940s or early '50s. I unpacked them for the first time this week and would like some information on them.
A. This is a remarkable set of porcelain that would have formed a lovely focal point on a Continental European dining table or buffet. This particular grouping is German in origin and its representation of a horseman speaking to his hounds before the beginning of the hunt is somewhat unusual.
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The bowl of the centerpiece is pierced and then encrusted with three-dimensional flowers in the style often associated with the city of Dresden. But such pieces were also made in other locations around the country. The base is a depiction of a fence and above that there are bushes, three-dimensional baying dogs and a man in hunting togs on a dapple gray horse.
Normally, centerpieces such as these feature images of such things as putti (cupidlike cherubs), dancing maidens, playing children, amorous couples or simple fruit, shell and/or flower encrustations. These centerpieces can be found in porcelain, silver and, occasionally, majolica -- a type of colorful earthenware sometimes called "faience."
The pair of five-cup candelabra paired with this exuberant centerpiece are a little plain in comparison to the centerpiece. They are just gold and white with a scattering of applied roses. The candle cups themselves are very rococo in shape -- which is what we expect for this type of ware.
Many people call these "garniture sets," and it is hard to find the three pieces in good condition. In this case, it would not be unusual for the horse's or its rider's head to have been knocked off during careless cleaning. The flowers, of course, are the most susceptible to damage, but as long as the losses to the petals are minimal and not unsightly, collectors tend to call this "expected losses" and do not downgrade the value too much.
The maker of this set is a company named "C.G. Schierholz & Sohn." It was located in the town of Plaue in the Thuringian region of Germany, and was founded circa 1817. The name was many years later changed to Von Schierholz'sche Porzellanmanufaktur Plaue -- and this is the entity that made this garniture set.
The Schierholz factory managed to survive World War II, but came under governmental trusteeship until it was nationalized in 1972. We feel that the set in today's question is probably from the second quarter of the 20th century, circa 1930.
This is certainly a lovely set, but, unfortunately, the price for this sort of thing has fallen precipitously over the past eight to 10 years. Still, any collectors interested in German porcelain, horses and/or hunting should find this set to be charming and of modest value.
On the current market, this unusual garniture should be insured for between $800 and $1,000.
• Contact Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson at Treasures in Your Attic, P.O. Box 18350, Knoxville, TN 37928.