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COLLECTING ELFINWARE

 

 

 

Do you love diminutive antique and vintage porcelain?

 

 

{This is for those of you collectors who asked me to write about this for over two years.}

 

 

Today we’re discovering precious, delicate miniature Elfinware.

 

 

Created by hand by artists, or perhaps the little elves that this porcelain work is named after?

 

 

 

Elfinware pieces are miniature Dresden-like porcelain decorative objects

 

 

 

covered in three dimensional applied flowers and leaves.

 

 

 

The tiny porcelains are treasured by collectors world-wide for their delicate,

 

 

 

feminine shapes and profusion of garden flowers.

 

 

 

Sometimes called Mossware, as many of the Elfinware pieces are encrusted

 

 

 

with little hand formed clusters of porcelain “moss.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elfinware is avidly collected for many reasons.

 

 

 

The boxes, baskets, little shoes and other designs are charmingly decorative,

 

 

 

and somehow speak to our imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each one was made and painted by hand,

 

 

 

 

so collectors consider each an original work of art.

 

 

 

 

The value depends on the quality of the flowers, the quality of the hand painting,

 

 

 

 

how little or much damage there is,

 

 

 

and how rare or desired a certain shape is.

 

 

 

They are really small, so that a even a large collection can be housed in an antique vitrine

 

 

 

 

and doesn’t take up too much precious space.

 

 

 

 

Made between the 1920’s and 1940’s, elfinware was produced by

 

 

 

 

many porcelain manufacturers, in all price ranges

 

 

 

from the very costly (those are usually larger, with gilt} to the affordable.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally sold as little souvenirs and gifts in gift shops,

 

 

 

 

many of the pieces are unmarked, some have Germany on the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 The Elfinware mark on the bottom of pieces belongs to Breslauer-Underberg

 

 

 

 

of New York City, who registerd this mark.

 

 

 

 

Pieces marked Elfinware – Made in Germany date to after 1945.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special pieces are very collectable and difficult to find in good condition.

 

 

 

Covered boxes, salt cellars, and baskets are always on the top of a collector’s list.

 

 

 

 

 

What makes the collectors I spoke with love elfinware?

{side note-I was surprised that so many of them are men!}

 

 

 

It’s the infinite variety of pieces, the uniqueness of each one,

 

 

 

and the memories their collection sparks of childhood

 

 

 

and the magical stories of fairies and elves they loved.

 

 

 

 

 

 Elfinware pieces are not pretending to be great antiques.

 

 

 

But they are wonderfully made by artists, covered liberally in petite flowers,

 

 

 

and will make you smile each time you see them.

 

 

We currently have a sweet estatecollection for sale at FrenchGardenHouse.

 

à bientôt

 

4 Responses to COLLECTING ELFINWARE

  1. Lidy, I did not know about Elfinware either. I can tell you I have walked past it a gazillion times in my treasure hunting. Thank you for this most informative post. I do love many of the pieces you have posted.

    Happy weekend, to you Lidy.

  2. Happy weekend, Sandra! There are some really beautiful elfin ware pieces, but there is a huge difference between a “good” piece and a cheaply made piece, it’s all in the detail and how “fine” the flowers are.

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