Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Ziegfield Plates

I have never determined what to do with these plates left behind when Florenz ("Flo") Ziegfield and his wife Billie Burke, caught in the Crash of 1929, abandoned many possessions when they lost their mansion in Chicago.
 An aunt of mine saved them from destruction and then they were passed on to me.  They are hand-painted, I believe, but with some scratches and some chipped edges that do not make them prime as antique objects.
 Yet I hate to think that the two 10-inch wide plates and the 17-1/2 inch platter will end up simply being tossed, considering that they once belonged to the impresario of the Ziegfield Follies and to perky Billy Burke, with a voice, like a chirping bird; as the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz,  she told Judy Garland how to get back home to Kansas by clicking her red shoes together.  I hope nostalgia will cause someone eventually to find some better fate for them.  Below the platter, cleared up scratches, and artist signature (which seems to be "R.K. Beck").

At this date, 15 September 2014, 7 Beck plates are on sale on eBay.  The owner had this information on the plates.  The size of the plates is different from mine -- perhaps a wider edge beyond the pictures.  Also, instead of the Buffalo Pottery stamp on the back, mine have this mysterious stamp "TST Latona" OR "Iatona"

The man with similar plates for sale says on eBay: 

For sale is a set of 6 plates & 1 oval platter.  Plates measure 9 1/8" wide.  Oval platter measures 15.25" long & 11" wide.

Each piece is signed by  Wildlife Artist, R.K. Beck.  He worked at Buffalo Pottery from 1909 to 1914.

These plates were commissioned by the Larkin Company with the Buffalo Pottery Company.  This was a soap manufacturer who produced these plates as a "soap premium".  They were a series of fish and game plates (Forest Series).  This listing is for the Wild Game Plates.  From my investigation I found that these were produced from approximately 1908 to 1918.

The plates feature both the male and female animals including elk, moose, deer, caribou.

It is stated that RK Beck had hand painted each plate and then signed them.  Truth be told, they were painted and then applied to the china piece and glazed over.

As with anything that is over 100 years old, all of these pieces are severely aged.  All show crazing, discoloration, bowed ceramic on the platter (it wobbles and doesn't sit flat) & scratches, but the colors are vibrant and the gold trim is still intact.  There is a slit on the back of 1 plate.  This is not a crack since it does not go through to the other side.  I believe that this was a manufacturer defect when the ceramic slip material dried and split prior to firing of the piece.  There is also 1 plate with an obvious crack.  Due to economic conditions way back when, my Grandfather had "repaired" this himself by gluing it back together.  I understand that this might be something that can be fixed and made more presentable.

I have attempted to show both the front and back of these pieces so that you can use the zoom feature to see close up views.  Email if you would like additional pictures since I can only have 12 pictures on ebay.  

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