Tea Set, Imported From China

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Brand new Chinese imported Deco tea set.

Recently, Chinese-made reproduction Art Deco styled tea sets in a Fulper-like glaze have begun to surface in local markets and on Ebay.  The shapes strongly resemble Fulper Pottery's early Fulper-Stangl #1081 Square Modern (a.k.a. Deco Delight) tea set shapes, but there are enough obvious differences so as not to mistake these for Fulper originals.   Fulper Pottery Company introduced the Fulper-Stangl #1081 tea set shapes in 1926 and produced them through the early 1930s.  They were made of lightweight earthenware and glazed in Fulper’s “Fayence” colors Colonial Blue, Persian Yellow, Silver Green and Tangerine.


Original 1920s Fulper-Stangl #1081 Square Modern sugar, tea pot and creamer.

The new imported Chinese sets include a teapot, creamer and covered sugar.  The sets are delivered from the importers bearing “Made In China” paper labels on each piece, which are easily removed and become “lost” by the time these pieces change hands several times and infiltrate the open market via flea markets, antique shows and Ebay.  We cannot begin to speculate how many sets are sitting in group shops, shows or flea markets waiting for the unsuspecting collector to snatch them up as Stangl-Fulper rarities.


"Made in China" paper label.

An interesting point to note is that the dealers offering these sets in the $35-$42 range on Ebay described the sets as NEW and no flim-flam scheme was being perpetrated by these dealers.  The description used in one of these Ebay auctions was “Mission Teapot Set Arts & Crafts Pottery Deco”.  It did not appear that the seller was trying to pass it off as anything other than an inexpensive new tea set in this style.  One distributor even told us that cups and saucers and additional colors might be offered in the future.

This practice of copying desirable and valuable antiques and collectibles is no surprise and not new!!  The Japanese and Chinese have been doing it for scores of years and in every category.  This is an outrage but there is little any of us can do about the boatloads of reproductions flooding this country, except to fine-tune our collecting skills.

DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED!  There are indeed some thrilling finds out there.  Stangl and Fulper are noted for samples, experimental and one-of-a-kind items in addition to old and popular lines and true Fulper and Stangl experiments and sample items are easily authenticated.   Education is more readily available now than ever before.  Arm yourself with books and seek out the advise of experts.  What an absolute pity to spend a king’s ransom on an item and then later find out that it is indeed a reproduction.  Rob’s new book Collectors Encyclopedia of Stangl Artware, Lamps and Birds due out soon will show you breath-taking examples of rarities and one-of-a-kind items that have all been authenticated through research and company records.

At first glance, the distinctive #1081 Square Modern shape seems convincingly authentic, especially with what appears to be Fulper’s Chinese Blue glaze.   While closely resembling Fulper’s Chinese Blue, this new version lacks the depth, brilliance and crystals of the Fulper glaze.  The glaze on these pieces is probably not a deliberate imitation of the Fulper glaze as the Chinese were the original developers of this glaze several centuries before Fulper re-created around 1910.

One exceptional difference between the Chinese and Fulper tea sets are the bases.  On the originals, the base is an attached square pedestal.  The Chinese sets have bases separate from the body and act as a coaster or trivet.  This seems to be a modern trend as there is a variety of Chinese imported tea sets in various styles that all have separate coaster / trivet bases.

                           
Repro teapot with separate "trivet" base.                      Underside of the "trivet" base.


Underside of the attached base of the original #1081 tea pot.

 

The body of these pieces is a white, vitreous china, similar to that used for toilet bowls or restaurant china, vastly different from the stoneware and earthenware bodies used by Fulper Pottery.

 
Base of the repro showing the white china body.

 


Comparison of sugar bowl bases.

 

The new Chinese articles are considerably larger than the Fulper originals.

 
Original tea pot: 7-1/2” tall to top of cover.
Repro tea pot: 10-1/4” tall to top of cover.


Original creamer: 4-1/4" tall.
Repro creamer: 6-1/4” tall

 


Original sugar: 5-3/8” tall to top of cover.
Repro sugar: 7-3/8” tall to top of cover.

 

The covers differ in size and shape, as do the openings.


Tea pot covers,
Original: 2-3/4" tall, 1-1/2" by 2-1/4" rectangular.
Repro: 3" tall, 2-1/2" square, interchangeable with the sugar cover.

 


Sugar covers, (underside shown)
Original: 2" tall, 1-1/2" by 2-1/4" rectangular.
Repro: 3" tall, 2-1/2" square, interchangeable with the tea pot cover.

 


Difference in openings of the tea pots.

 

The vertical ornamentation on the original tea set was three flutes;


while the vertical ornamentation on the repro pieces are three raised ridges.



 

Fulper Fayence Fake Paper Labels

A few faked "Fulper Fayence" paper labels have recently been found on older pieces of unmarked American pottery, such as Haeger and McCoy.  This one, based on Fulper's square paper label of the 1920s, appears to be photocopied on brown kraft paper and aged.  The size is smaller and the border and logo configuration differ from Fulper's original as well.  Original Fulper labels have product information rubber-stamped or hand written in ink.  The fake label is written in pencil.  Although the fake label appears aged and worn, the pencil writing is crisp and fresh. Also, the brown kraft paper of the fake has a high rag content, which can be seen under a magnifying glass along the artificially worn edges. Fulper's original labels were printed on thin white paper, and have usually aged and darkened in irregular patterns.  The original Fulper labels measure 1-1/4" by 1-1/2".  The fake label measures 1" by 1-1/4".  


Fake Fulper Fayence paper label, photocopied on brown kraft paper.

   
Two original Fulper Fayence paper labels

 

 

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