Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Tisket. A Tasket, Look at the Pretty Brides Baskets.


    Collectors sometimes give a new name to an old object. This is the case of the Victorian Brides Baskets. The old glass and silver company catalogs, never listed a,"Brides Basket." They were called berry or fruit bowls. Today they are called." Brides Baskets, as they were very popular as wedding gifts during the Victorian era, 1860-1900.
  Silver plate companies made the frames and bought the glass basket inserts from glass companies, and vice versa. They were married up ,to form what we all know today as a," Brides Basket." Because they were a product of two companies they were rarely marked as to who the maker was. Some times the silver companies would mark the frames, as there was a law ,stating that silver plate had to be marked ,as so. There were a lot of silver companies that made these frames. A few of the more popular ones are: Reed and Barton. Rogers Brothers, Pairpoint,Tufts. Meriden and Britanna. The same goes with the glass companies. Art glass of this period were rarely marked in any form, one has to learn the look to tell the maker. A few of the companies that made the glass baskets are: Crown Milano, Mt.Washington,Peach Blow,Moser, Webb and New England Glass Co.
     The bowls were all hand blown of art glass and usually had crimped or fluted edges. They have hand painted decorations, which was very tricky to do.After there were hand painted they were required to be fired to set the paint. A lot of the glass explodes or slumped with the re- heating. Reguardless of this problem, thousands were made and survived . They have been very popular with antique and art glass collectors for many generations. More often than not, they are found in the parlor of today's homes, even thought they were meant to be used in the dining room. The bowls are found in plain glass as well, but the more sought after are the fancy colored and highly enameled decorations. The highest prices are paid for baskets with unusual forms and rare art glass. A lot of brides Baskets today are not in there original silver frames. To achieve a higher selling price this is important. If the bowl does not fit the frame, slides around, it probably is a marriage.This would not bring as much as if it was the original frame.
   Almost all the silver frames were plate. Most being quadruple plate,which meant there were several layers of silver. The plated is done by  a process that transfers silver on to a base metal, like copper, by electricity. Some frames were made of sterling, but most likely  not, as it was far ro expensive and had to be hand made, where the plate ones could be mass produced from molded parts. A few were made from brass or bronze and some simple ones had pewter frames as well.
    During the 1880's. fancier glass inserts began to appear and the styles available were numerous by the 1890's. American silver and silver plate companies used glass bowls that were made both in America and Europe. The bowls added greatly to the cost and the popularity of the brides basket. A 3 layer quilted satin glass bowl was very labor intense to make, costing much more than a plain ruffled cranberry bowl. The bowls were hand blown by one artist and then turned over to a painter or decorator, which added to the cost of production. Rarely  did a blower of the bowl ,do his or her  own decorating. Most American collectors tend to like the American made bowls best. I usually pay no attention to who made what, and buy what I like and think is beautiful.

I bought this brides basket as I thought the orange color looked good with my french hand blacked wall paper boarder,


   Like a lot of antiques, the Brides Bowls, are not as popular as they once were. If you gave one today as a wedding gift to a young couple, most of them would say, " what the hell is this?' They would much rather have a Kitchen Aid mixer, that would cost about the same amount of money, as an antique Brides Basket.. Most old time collectors of antiques never settle with just one of any thing. I have three Brides Baskets that I am sharing with you today, but I have friends that have many more. When I was a new collector I was so excited to finally find and be able to afford a Brides Basket. That one is long gone, sold off in one of my many moves, and the ones I have today, are just as pretty and I find them great fun to use as a decorative accessory. The colors are vast and one can choose the color to match the room.
   I hope you enjoy this little lesson today on the so called, Victorian Brides Basket, aka, fruit bowls. Come by, My Old Historic House ,any time for a real tour and see for yourself, my beautiful Brides Baskets.. Remember, I will always leave the lights on and Sissy Dog will always meet you with a jump and a kiss. It has turned a little colder here in rural Missouri. I for one am not ready or excited about the coming winter. But, what is one to do, but ready themselves and get out the warm cloths and blankets. See you next time

This basket has the original frame as it has grapes molded in the silver and the bowl has grapes pained on the glass.