Antique Wall Sculpture

kybluebirdDecember 29, 2011

My nephew has found a 3D antique (I think) wall sculpture of a lady and gentleman that appears to be from the victorian age. The sculpture appears to be chalkware. Does anyone have any ideas on this type of thing? Would appreciate any information available! A photograph of the sculpture can be seen here:


Here is a link that might be useful: Photo

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Have you seen and touched the panel? Looks very like it might be resin to me.
Nothing about it says Victorian to me.....the clothing looks to be Edwardian.
What does the back look like?
Linda c

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 10:33AM
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Of course chalkware is easily identified by whomever has possession of it just from its weight and texture and the fact that in an inconspicuous part of it, it can be scratched to see if it's soft.

It's a "romantic scene" and could have been produced in any era so the fact they are in old costume really doesn't suggest it was made in that particular era. The first thing one would do is determine what eras chalkware were popular in and the last big boom on it was during the depression . I have several pieces from that timeframe one set of which I have found the same pieces in a museum. It was a wedding gift to my In-Laws in the mid 1930s.

It is now enjoying a resurgence in popularity and production and you'll find the modern versions often more intricate and detailed than the vintage ones because the materials and processes have been refined.

Of course this is likely moulded and not sculpted and I'd ask if there is any labeling or marks on the back. Any whatsoever, even including pencil markings. Chalkware was once considered a poor man's version of expensive china figurines, but not anymore. The new versions can be found in pricier places.

I suppose the whole 'is it valuable' and how valuable shall depend on verifying age. It's terribly fragile (or at least the old plaques are) and the bulk of it has not survived even half a century in pristine shape. If this piece is in excellent condition, it's more than likely a newer piece. You didn't comment on its acquisition, ie estate sale, yard sale, passed down. Those are all clues....and just clues. If it is vintage (and I seriously doubt it's a true antique) the value will vary and there are examples of it on all sorts of sales sites. They are mass produced, so the mileage varies. It's a pretty little piece.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 11:10AM
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Er, Linda, the clothing style isn't even vaguely in the ball park of Edwardian, if anything it's about 1760-80. I do agree that the old costume figures do not necessarily indicate the piece is antique.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 9:53PM
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I think the clothing looks sort of French Louis Whatever and I agree that it's generic "romantic."

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 10:32PM
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Louis.....Edward....I get confused! LOL!
Just not Victorian.
We tent to call anything "chalkware" when it's plaster of paris.....which I guess is chalk ware.
But the early chalk ware was the poorman's Staffordshire....which was the poorman's Dresden. It was poured into a mold, the sactings were hollow and usually finished with something that was sort of like papermache....glue based.
My friend's mother in law took up casting plaster figures in molds in her retirement years. You could buy molds and pour the plaster and finish it to your liking. My friend once got a bright gold painted bust of Lincoln on a white plaster pedestal.....Yeah...chalk but not really!! LOL!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 11:00PM
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