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Belleek Four Strand Oval Covered Basket - 5th period

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Belleek China5 of 53Little saltersBelleek Four Strand Rathmore Basket - 5th period
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    Posted 5 years ago

    (63 items)

    My last recent purchase from a Montana auction is this Belleek four strand oval covered basket from the 5th period. This dates the basket to the 1980s.

    The early baskets had one to three pads affixed to the bottom and depending on what was on them you could determine their period (in addition to how many strands). After the 5th period, Belleek started putting their standard stamps on the bottom using a single square pad.

    This item is stunning and in perfect condition. Covered baskets are so hard to find in good condition (really all baskets).

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    1. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    2. live.eclectically live.eclectically, 5 years ago
      Thank you. I can sit here and look at it for hours just thinking that each flower was crafted individually and affixed to the body. If you've never seen videos on how they make the baskets and flowers, I highly recommend it. This video shows a bunch of stuff, but around the 8:00 mark is the basket -
    3. martika martika, 5 years ago
      You are so lucky to find this without any damage! When I find something similar, the petals or leaves usually chipped.
    4. inky inky, 5 years ago
      I think it has to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen..:-)
    5. upscalebohemian, 5 years ago
      You'd be amazed how even when these seem clean they've got years of grime on them that mutes the colors considerably (even the pearlescent finish on the earliest baskets).

      Marian Langham (who wrote a few Belleek books, as you know) and I used to correspond quite a bit, and she told me she just puts them in the dishwasher.

      It seemed shocking, but since then I've washed every one of my baskets and woven plates (with nothing else in the dishwasher that might move at all), and the colors come back to life and are bright and clear again.

      Even things like the "cheese grating" basket handles hold a lot of grime over the years and the difference after washing is dramatic.

      I wouldn't do it to one that had any restoration of any kind, but even the plain white baskets (my favorite) look fantastic next to those that I thought looked clean but weren't.

      I hope everyone knows to never pick these baskets up by the handles but under the rim of the bowl and under the four outermost thistles for the bowl lid. I've seen way too many of these with broken handles.

      My antique version of this one in the large size (it was made in two sizes) has a surprisingly convincing restored handle that wasn't disclosed when I bought it at auction, but I don't mind since the rest of it is so well done.

      The same large Oval Covered Basket from the 50s to the 1980s is pretty in a different way, great modeling generally, but lacks the pearlescent almost silvery white glaze on the floral and leaf work of the earliest baskets.

      I have both in the large size.

      I wouldn't buy one of these today even though it's still made. The workmanship just isn't there compared to in the past, and the floral work is diminished considerably to save costs.

      I did buy the 160th anniversary Henshall basket released this year because I didn't have that one, and was very happily surprised to see it was as good as in the past, so I then bought the "Papillion" (papillon) vase and found they didn't even bother to fettle the seam lines out so that went back. Belleek today is really hit or miss, mostly miss.
    6. live.eclectically live.eclectically, 5 years ago
      @upscalebohemian I would not have thought to put these in a dishwasher :) Besides the fact I don't have a dishwasher, if I did, I wouldn't have thought of it. Seems the water pressure would damage them. Generally, I shower them and let them air dry mostly since they're pretty impossible to dry with a towel.

      I'm still on the lookout for early versions of most everything since I prefer them to newer ones. Most everything I have past 3rd period I acquired as part of a lot that likely had a black mark piece in it. Although, the baskets and ice pail I bought individually since they are so hard to find in early versions.

      I also bought the 160th anniversary basket and it is quite colorful. I got the greyhounds as well and was not prepared for how huge it is. I think it's pretty nice, but I've never seen the original but I find some newer pieces (even in the 4th+ period) to look "blobby" as my wife puts it - like they melted.
    7. upscalebohemian, 5 years ago
      I believe from the overall shape this is the smaller size of the Oval Covered Basket?

      It's in the 1983 price list as:

      0569-11 C Oval Basket Covd SS Ptd 15 $2250.00

      The first number is the item number.

      The "C" is the code for "Collectors’ Editions (Made to Order)"

      The name means Oval Covered Basket, Small Size, Painted Version (as opposed to plain white version).

      15 is the page number of the catalog.

      And the price is in U.S. dollars.

      For comparison, the Oval Covered Basket in the larger size is listed as:

      0588-11 C Oval Covd Basket LS Ptd 17 $2950.00

      I have both versions (and the Rathmore Basket) from the 1920s or so, where the basket is plain white and the detailing of flowers and leaves is pearlescent. I have the plain white large size from the 1960s or 1970s and the detailing is still gorgeous but the pearlescent finish isn't used by then. They're both strikingly beautiful but in different ways. I couldn't even pick a favorite version.

      Strangely, often with these baskets the 1st and 2nd period versions aren't necessarily the prettiest versions. Some look rather crude compared to what came later.
    8. upscalebohemian, 5 years ago
      As for "blobby" I believe that has to do with Belleek cutting corners. I think there's a process whereby when some parts come out of the mold the detailing needs to be defined more with a tool (such as all the holes in the coral on the Neptune tea set, seams have to be smoothed, and so on, and they just started skipping this more and more to save money). The pieces also got thicker and heavier.

      I have the antique Lace pattern tea tray, and you can't imagine all the work that must have gone into it to define the pattern.

      The Lace bowl that was offered by BCIS as one in a series of membership thank you gifts was supposedly a version of the sugar bowl from the tea set (though it looks nothing like the earlier version with feet that I've seen), and the mold had degraded and Belleek could have made a new mold, but George Moore's wife decided to offer it as is, major flaws (at both seam sides) and all, for the sake of authenticity. That's the story Belleek gave, anyway.

      The "Papillion" (Papillon) Vase made for the 160th anniversary this year had such awful seams at both sides I sent it back. The earlier versions I have (painted and plain) are perfect.
    9. live.eclectically live.eclectically, 5 years ago
      I'm not sure if it's SS or LS but it looks like it could nearly fit in the Rathmore basket - not that I'd try :) It measures about 9" long, 5-1/2" tall, and 7" wide.

      Looking again at some images, I also think some of the "blobbiness" comes from the fact they glazed the whole piece.

      Two great examples of this:


      Not blobby (left piece):

      The terrier (right piece) in the second link looks terrible to me in any period I've seen it. They should've left the dog on cushion as bisque instead of glazing it.
    10. upscalebohemian, 5 years ago
      That's the small size version. The large size version is about 12" lengthwise.

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