Archive for the 'M.S. Rau Blog' Category

Time For Luxury: Table Clocks for Her

December 14th, 2015 | posted by Phillip Youngberg
This incredible Meissen clock is crafted entirely of porcelain

This incredible Meissen clock is crafted entirely of porcelain

As beautiful as it is functional, a luxuriously designed table clock can provide the perfect focal point for any well-appointed room. Always desirable, the table clock can also be the perfect gift for any holiday occasion. Make this Christmas a special moment to remember with one of these extraordinary table clocks that exude rarity, taste, and timeless luxury.

The babes are nestled within elaborate Rococo decoration bearing items representative of each season

The babes are nestled within elaborate Rococo decoration bearing items representative of each season

 

This ornate Meissen mantel pendulum clock showcases the legendary porcelain manufacturer’s mastery over their craft. The company’s penchant for allegorical themes is on full display in the timepiece’s elaborate depiction of the Four Seasons. Four delicate cherub signifying the Seasons rest around the face of the clock: Winter enveloped in a warm cloak, Spring bearing a floral wreath, Summer holding a goblet of red wine, and Fall holding a sheath of wheat. The colors typical to all Meissen porcelain appear here as a symphony of pastels of blush-pinks, pale blues, soft greens, and tinges of shy yellow. The overall design reflects the Rococo opulence of the day with its flourishing foliates and gilt accents. The piece is marked and dated with the Meissen crossed swords and stands at 22” tall.

 

This stunning mantel clock by J. E. Caldwell & Co. of Philadelphia exudes tasteful elegance

This stunning mantel clock by J. E. Caldwell & Co. of Philadelphia exudes tasteful elegance

This marble and doré bronze mantle clock by J.E. Caldwell & Co. gains its inspiration from the French neoclassical era during the reign of Louis XVI, a period that harkened back to the classical orders of ancient Rome and Greece. With this nod to both fashionable French taste and classical sensibilities, the mantle clock displays a stunning culmination of style and refinement. The body of the clock is crafted of luxurious white marble that is adorned by bronze cast doré ornaments of caryatids, scrolling garlands, and flower-bearing urns. The dial, which features an enameled dial embellished with pierced gilt bronze clock hands, is signed JE Caldwell & Co., Philadelphia. The stunning timepiece measures 17 1/2” high.

Scottish jewelry firm Muirhead & Son crafted this fine ormolu and porcelain mantel clock

Scottish jewelry firm Muirhead & Son crafted this fine ormolu and porcelain mantel clock

 

This extraordinary perpetual calendar clock was created by the renowned Scottish jewelry firm of James Muirhead & Son. Though first jewelers, the Scottish earned a name as clockmakers for designing magnificently ornate table clocks that rival his best jewelry designs in beauty and luxury. As mechanically complex as it is beautiful, this calendar clock boasts two faces that display the time, day, month, and even moon phases. Hand-painted porcelain makes up the body of the clock, while fine ormolu gracefully envelops the surface in naturalistic, swooping foliate designs. The bell-striking movement is signed “James Muirhead and Son Glasgow” and the timepiece measures 17 1/2” high.

 

Crafted in styles that would suit nearly any taste, the table clock makes a welcome and luxurious addition to any room. This holiday, give the gift of an elegant and rare table clock from M.S. Rau Antiques.

 

Gifts for the Jewelry Enthusiast: The Tourmaline

December 5th, 2015 | posted by Danielle Halikias
A radiant and rare Cuprian tourmaline shines in this enchanting ring

A radiant and rare Cuprian tourmaline shines in this enchanting ring

Enchanting, colorful, luminous. Tourmalines have long enjoyed a history of high regard and importance. Initially confused with other gems, the Tourmaline was not recognized as a distinct mineral until the 1880s. Today, this exceptional gem is prized for its unique beauty and brilliant array of colors, making the tourmaline a jewel of high distinction and timeless elegance.

Pink tourmalines of this color and size are incredibly rare and highly prized

Pink tourmalines of this color and size are incredibly rare and highly prized

The name “tourmaline” comes from the word “tormalli,” meaning “mixed gems.” It’s a term Dutch merchants applied to the vibrant, multicolored stones that miners found in the gem gravels of Ceylon, present day Sri Lanka. Variety of color, by far, is one of tourmaline’s most fascinating characteristics. This resplendent jewel is found in nearly every color of the rainbow­–from the warm red of elegant Rubellite tourmalines all the way to the neon blues exhibited by rare Paraiba tourmalines. It is nearly impossible to see a tourmaline and not be astonished by its animated, vivacious hues.

An incredible 22.64-carat green tourmaline makes a statement in this cocktail ring

An incredible 22.64-carat green tourmaline makes a statement in this cocktail ring

Of all the colors that the tourmaline comes in, pink is the most sought after. This pink, rosy-hued Cuprian tourmaline ring exhibits all the qualities that make up an outstanding stone. Distinctive in style and impressive size, this 9.99-carat jewel is encircled by 0.89 carats of white sparkling diamonds. To add to its importance and rarity, the tourmaline is certified as having received no traces of heat treatment, making the appearance of the stone completely natural. Cuprian tourmalines are known for their incredible brilliance and eye catching qualities. This Cuprian ring exhibits exactly that, rivaling the vibrancy of all other gemstones. Set in a classic platinum and 18K gold setting, this exceptional cushion-cut tourmaline is one of the most sought after gemstones.

Displaying the deep blue-green hue for which Tourmalines are so loved, this stone is a rare find

Displaying the deep blue-green hue for which Tourmalines are so loved, this stone is a rare find

The range of colors of tourmalines can also be exhibited by deep greens. This 22.64 carat green cushion-cut Tourmaline cocktail ring not only displays impressive size, but incredible color and boldness. The extremely desirable deep green hue dazzles impresses. Rivaling even the very best of emeralds, this stone boasts monumental importance. Set in an elegant platinum setting, this stone is surrounded by 1.10 carats of white diamonds and is characterized as a true treasure.

Truly a jewel of tremendous variety, exceptional gemstone-quality tourmalines command great attention on the market. Those displaying the sumptuous color, clarity and size as those found in M.S. Rau Antiques’ selection of rare jewels are some of the finest tourmalines to be found anywhere and will make for the perfect Holiday gift.

 

Time to Feast: Setting the Holiday Table

November 23rd, 2015 | posted by Lyndon Lasiter
An elegant 196-piece St. Dunstan silver flatware service by Tiffany & Co.

An elegant 196-piece St. Dunstan silver flatware service by Tiffany & Co.

A time for feasting, friends, family, and autumn weather. To many, Thanksgiving is one of the most wonderful times of the year. Marking the beginning of the holiday season, Thanksgiving is a time to gather and give thanks, the commencement of a time of togetherness and cheer. This merry sentiment practically necessitates delicious food and wine with one’s company, particularly one a day that evokes images of warm pumpkin pie and roasted turkey stuffed with dressing. And any perfectly dressed bird requires an equally well dressed table – perfectly cater to your company’s needs on this grand feast day with classic and elegant tableware.

Each piece is marked “TIFFANY & CO. STERLING PAT. 1909” with the “m” date letter

Each piece is marked “TIFFANY & CO. STERLING PAT. 1909” with the “m” date letter

From one of the premiere silver manufacturers in America, Tiffany & Co. flatware services are sure to be the perfect addition to any Thanksgiving spread. Gaining immediate attention after introducing their first sterling silver flatware pattern in 1847, Tiffany & Co. has prevailed in dining sophistication. This 196-piece set for 12 epitomizes what Tiffany flatware is best known for: elegance, durability, and prestige. Hand-crafted in the St. Dunstan pattern, this set features delicate oak leaves in a subtle, yet delicate, Art Deco design. In this set, there is a piece for every dish imaginable. As made evident by this extraordinary service, Tiffany & Co. sets the standard for American elegance in dining.

Crafted by Alexander Johnston, these candlesticks deeply chased decoration in a well-balanced design

Crafted by Alexander Johnston, these candlesticks deeply chased decoration in a well-balanced design

No table setting is complete without stunning, supple lighting. This outstanding pair of 18th century Rococo style silver candlesticks would be the perfect finishing touch to any table. Crafted and marked by the English silversmith Alexander Johnson, these candlesticks reflect the renowned grandeur of the Rococo style. They feature ornate, deeply chased decoration of natural forms such as rosettes, acanthus, shells, and palms – opulent motifs typical of the Rococo style. Tasteful with a touch of exuberance, this pair of candlesticks encapsulates the sensational style of 18th century Rococo.

The stunning sterling Martelé coffee service embodies the very best of Gorham silver

The stunning sterling Martelé coffee service embodies the very best of Gorham silver

No fine feast is complete without after dinner coffee. This Martele four-piece coffee service by Gorham was deeply inspired by the Art Nouveau movement, a style that was characterized by swirling organic forms. These aspects are evident by the curvilinear handles of the sugar bowl and creamer, the delicate swirl of the coffee pot spout, and the embossment on the whole set of foliate and floral designs. As some of the most highly collected silver in the world, the Martele line of the popular Gorham Silver Company exemplifies tasteful style, and would be an elegant addition to any Thanksgiving gathering.

A King Among Porcelain: KPM

November 11th, 2015 | posted by James Gillis

Earning a legendary reputation after over 250 years of superior porcelain production, KPM Berlin and Chinese porcelain are considered among the finest in the world in terms of quality, creativity, and history. Almost exclusively crafted by hand in classic forms, KPM porcelain has become synonymous with beautiful and timeless pieces that possess a character that surpasses their mere practical uses. A lasting expression of individuality and luxury, KPM Berlin porcelain remains highly desirable and treasured today.

Skillfully executed, this cup and saucer set is a splendid example of the creativity and technical genius of KPM's porcelain artists.

Skillfully executed, this cup and saucer set is a splendid example of the creativity and technical genius of KPM’s porcelain artists.

Before the 14th century, porcelain objects did not exist in Europe. The art of producing porcelain was a closely held secret in China, and was considered a rarity that signified great luxury. To Europeans, porcelain was a dazzling symbol of the exotic; the splendor of hard-paste porcelain was unlike anything Europe had seen before. As European fascination with Chinese porcelain increased, so did their desire to replicate the process of porcelain production themselves. European artisans were ultimately successful in the early 18th century, beginning a new era of decorative arts in Europe.

 

A few decades later, KPM Berlin would emerge as a major player on the porcelain scene. Prussian King, Frederick The Great, a sovereign with a great taste for finery, he purchased a small porcelain factory in 1763, and named it The Royal Porcelain Factory in Berlin (Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin). Gaining almost immediate success and acclaim, the factory appropriate the royal spectre as its symbol, a hallmark that still exists today. Customers such as the Duke of Kurland, various Tsars in Russia, and even Frederick himself helped propel the KPM name all over Europe. KPM porcelain established itself on the foundation of excellent decorative techniques, high quality porcelain, and timeless designs – characteristics of the name that prevail into today.

Finely hand painted in imitation of a micromosaic, this remarkably rare coffee cup and saucer displays all of the high standards of production of the famed Berlin KPM factory.

Finely hand painted in imitation of a micromosaic, this remarkably rare coffee cup and saucer displays all of the high standards of production of the famed Berlin KPM factory.

Of the many different types of objects that KPM produced, their cup and saucer services are among the most exemplary of the company’s fine style and design. Their micromosaic imitation pieces in particular were heralded for their remarkable creativity and exceptional skill. A technique perfected in Ancient Rome, the micromiosaic technique of forming images from tiny pieces of marble and glass re-emerged during the 19th century as affluent tourists participated in the Grand Tour. KPM Berlin developed a hand-painted technique that mimicked these popular ancient Roman micromosaics and Florentine pietre dure. Upon first glance, the workmanship is so flawless in its precision that it is nearly impossible to detect the motif is actually painted upon the porcelain.

Emblematic of the factory’s creativity, this rich blue cup and saucer imitates the micromosaic style that was popular at the time. In depicting this manner of micromosaics, this exceptional set features the skillful imitation of precious lapis-lazuli stones in a hand-painted style. This design is rendered with such incredible skill and attention to detail that only the most talented artists could achieve. The result – a shimmering blue surface completed by a medallion of the ancient Doves and Pliny on the cup and a delicate songbird on the saucer.

The micromosaic decoration takes the form of songbirds, while the pietre dure panels resemble Roman vases and butterflies–all of which display an amazing level of detail.

This cup and saucer are formed in a dynamic octagonal shape, hand painted with the dominant hues of vibrant red and gold.

Similarly, this KPM cup and saucer presents unprecedented quality and enormous skill in micromosaic imitation. Luxurious gilding, emblematic of the popular neoclassical style of the period, and stunning hand-painted decoration in a rich red mark the piece as a true rarity. A medallion of two different birds against a rust background offer evidence of incredible skill and the illusion of separate pieces of glass. The decorative motif of birds saw a renewal in popularity during this time.

Exhibiting the high standard of KPM porcelain production, this vibrant gold colored cup and saucer denotes high levels of precision in yet another micromosaic imitation. Exquisitely painted songbirds envelop the border of the plate while Ancient Roman structures are delicately painted on the cup. These flawless designs epitomize the KPM style of the painted micromosaic style and the incredible talent of the factory’s artisans.

The Queen of Georgian Silver: Hester Bateman

October 30th, 2015 | posted by Susan Lapene
This incredible covered tankard features a flaring cylindrical, with applied mid band and a domed cover.

This incredible covered tankard features a flaring cylindrical, with applied mid band and a domed cover.

18th century England, an age when gender roles were very nearly set in stone, held few options for women beyond marriage and motherhood. While men provided financial support for their families, women were expected to maintain family and home; it was rare to see a woman break out of this prescribed gender role towards something great. Yet, for the headstrong young widow Hester Bateman, greatness was within reach.

Born in London in 1708 to a poor family, Bateman grew up under these strong gender delineations, eventually marrying silversmith John Bateman. Batemen adhered to societal standards by maintaining her family, yet she also keenly observed the techniques and tools of her husband’s silversmith workshop. While John’s silver craftsmanship did not experience much commercial success, Bateman still benefited from observing her husband at work.

The elegance of Hester Bateman's style is exemplified in this rare sterling silver inkwell.

The elegance of Hester Bateman’s style is exemplified in this rare sterling silver inkwell.

After the passing of her husband in 1760, Batemen inherited the silversmith business and developed it from a single outworker’s hut into a successful silversmith business. With crafting skills already under her retinue, Batemen was keenly aware of the intricacies that went into creating pieces. She registered her own makers mark, an austere HB,  and began styling her pieces in elegant, restrained styles that stood in contrast to the extravagant, over-embellished fashion of the period. Choosing austere, simple shapes, Batemen’s pieces emphasized sophisticated and timeless classical taste.

 This incredible jug bears Bateman's maker's mark and London date mark under the base and under the lid.

This incredible jug bears Bateman’s maker’s mark and London date mark under the base and under the lid.

This was a bold, yet important, stylistic choice. Bateman’s restrained silverwares attracted a solid middle-class market with its simply, yet elegant design, earning her remarkable success in her own lifetime and for success generations to come. Heralded today not only as one the queen of English silver, but also as a keen businesswoman in her own right, Bateman is truly an inspiration as well as an artisan.

A sleek wooden handle and an engraved crest complete the piece.

A sleek wooden handle and an engraved crest complete the piece.

This incredible tankard is just one of the many elegant pieces designed by Bateman. As a perfect example of her talent as a silversmith, this piece features a flaring cylindrical with a domed cover. Different from any other touches at the time, the handle terminated in a magnificent heart-shape – a touch of femininity and a show of her revolutionary style. Importantly, this bears the hallmark of Batemen and a datemark for London, 1784. Similarly, this silver inkwell is a principal example of Batemen’s talent. As a crucial part of any 18th century person’s desk, this item features cobalt-blue glass inserts and Bateman’s signature delicate beaded borders.

This exceptional and rare silver covered cup by Hester Bateman epitomizes the finest in Georgian craftsmanship.

This exceptional and rare silver covered cup by Hester Bateman epitomizes the finest in Georgian craftsmanship.

Like all of Bateman’s silver, this silver jug perfect represents the graceful proportions for which her pieces were known. The sweeping lower portion of the jug charmingly terminates into a slender upper portion. A curved wooden handle and an engraved crest complete the piece. Like always, Bateman’s famed beaded borders are a testament to her name and talent. Enormously emblematic of Bateman’s unique talent is this exceptional cup and cover. In a classical urn shape, this piece capture everything for which Bateman is praised: slender proportions, beaded edges, and a carefully engraved crest that all work to echo themes of true grace and elegance.

The combination of her dominant personality, business savvy and gift as a skilled artisan has made her one of the most famed of all the Georgian silversmiths, and the most important and celebrated female silversmith of all time.

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