Phillip Rosenthal started his namesake company more than 130 years ago when he began selling porcelain items hand-painted by his wife, Maria. The popularity of the pieces prompted him to establish a porcelain factory in Selb, Germany in 1891, and the company's baroque designs and rococo curlicues caught on quickly. During its history, the Rosenthal company employed hundreds of artists to design porcelain pieces, including tableware and figurines. Identifying a signed Rosenthal vase begins with determining that it is, in fact, a Rosenthal.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Look at the bottom of the porcelain vase for a backstamp, also known as a mark. Many antique and collectable porcelain pieces contain an image or graphics identifying the company that produced it. The earliest Rosenthal pieces, made from 1887 to 1891, feature a mark that resembles an artist's palate with the following letters: Ph. R. & Co.
Look for a mark with "R." and "C." on either side of crossed lines and an ampersand in the bottom of the "X" created by the crossed lines. This mark indicates the piece is an early Rosenthal vase, made between 1891 and 1906.
Check the bottom of the porcelain vase for a backstamp containing a crown atop crossed lines, with "Rosen" written in cursive style on the left side of the crossed lines and "thal" on the right. Pieces made in 1907 and later feature a mark containing a crown atop crossed lines.
Determine the design on the vase. Early Rosenthal vases featured rococo curlicues and the highly ornamented designs associated with baroque style. Later pieces were much more streamlined and contemporary.
Check the piece for a signature. Artists typically signed the bottom or side of the vases they designed.
Tips and warnings
- Often the mark will also bear the name of the factory in which the piece was made, such as "Selb-Bavaria."
- Sometimes the person who painted the vase would initial it.
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