Antique Porcelain, Pottery and Silver from David Pownall WillisDavid Pownall Willis

David Pownall Willis

Today's spotlight 9-27-2016

September 27, 2016 7:09 pm
Antiques : Decorative Art : Ceramics : Chinese Export

Chinese Export Porcelain Famille Rose Platter, c. 1820. This platter is in the Rose Mandarin pattern. The border includes four wonderful lanterns with birds. The decoration is of the finest quality showing the lord, his court jester and all of his ladies in waiting. They all have gold in their hair. Gold ornamentation is in the lord’s headdress. The gold decoration is evidence that this piece of Famille Rose export ware is quite early, as is the platter’s wavy “orange peel” glaze. I love Chinese Export with its many types of borders. Rose Canton is all flowers. Rose Medallion has alternating panels of people and flowers. Rose Mandarinhas decoration with people in the center and elaborate borders of birds, lanterns, packages, flowers and even fish. 

Thoughts on the care of silver

January 8, 2011 12:23 pm
Antiques : Decorative Art : Metals : Silver : Sterling

Silver tarnishes from the exposure to the air in your house.

Tarnish does not hurt the silver. It usually only has to be cleaned and polished a couple of times a year. If you like it can be kept up by lightly using a commercial silver polishing cloth or gloves.

There are good commercial silver polishes available supermarkets or hardware stores. Just remember, any polish that you have to let dry before polishing is abrasive, will scratch and is not recommended.

Using a buffing wheel can wear the silver and can affect the design, decoration, engraving and maker’s marks. All of these can hurt an item’s value.

Silver dip should only be used by someone that knows what they are doing as it will literally remove all tarnish. Be careful. Some “tarnish” was applied to highlight decoration. Silver dip is NOT a polish. It’s a cleaner and leaves a film on the silver that must be polished off later.

A primer on antiques

September 29, 2010 10:26 pm
Antiques : Decorative Art


On my trips out and about, I often see shops advertising gifts and antiques. While an antique makes a great gift, a gift isn’t always an antique.

So what makes an antique, antique. Antiques are at least 100 years old. Anything less than 100 years old is a collectible. It’s a rule that’s often ignored, but like 12 inches is a foot, an antique is 100 years old.

I’ll be spending some more time here going over the basics of antiques, but I really wanted to get this one fact out of the way first.

Stayed tuned. I’ll be talking about the fundamentals of silver and porcelain.

Wonders of the Egg Cup

August 1, 2010 8:48 pm
Antiques : Decorative Art : Ceramics : American : Porcelain


Rare Meissen Footed Egg CupThis is a very rare Meissen footed egg cup. What makes it rare is the Imperial yellow ground with gold highlighting and red ribbon, bows and swag decoration. This is a typical decoration of the period in which it was made. It has the Meissen Marcolini period cross swords and star mark on the bottom in under glaze blue. This mark dates the little cup to circa 1780.

You will notice that the footed cup is leaning to one side slightly. This adds to the charm and happened in the kiln when it was being made. You will also notice the flaw/chip in the foot rim. You can tell that it happened during the making because the glaze and decoration is right over the flaw.

The color yellow was made for use by royalty and originally by the Chinese emperors. Later copies of yellow were a lot darker in tone.


Here’s how people used this piece:

You put the soft boil egg in the cup and then you cut the top off with a knife.  Be careful that you don’t cut the egg down too far.  You proceed to eat the egg with a little egg spoon.

Click here for a demonstration.

Here is an interesting site for those who may be interested in collecting egg cups which can ru

n the gamut from very inexpensive to very expensive silver and porcelain.

Note: Rather than for eating, it is suggested that this egg cup be used for display to show off your skill in finding special piece.