Decorating with Transferware

Showcase antiques in your home—even if they don’t stack up for a high-end appraisal—with this clever decorating tip from interior designer Phoebe Howard and Antiques Roadshow appraiser Stuart Whitehurst.


-You have a piece on your dining table which is very interesting for a number of reasons. Why don't you tell me why you put it here? -It's a soup tureen. I used to collect English transferware and I love this tureen, but it was missing its lid so I thought what a perfect way to repurpose this. -Doesn't keep soup warm anymore but we can use this as a planter. -Exactly. I'm a big believer in bringing in fresh greenery. I think it really adds a lot of life and makes things a lot prettier. This could be any compote or anything kind of a footed porcelain piece. -Oh. -You put a plastic liner in the bottom, put all the plants in there and then sort of stuff some moss around. -It is a true antique as well. This is English. If you say transferware it's made about 1840 or 1850 Staffordshire about 160 years old but not particularly uncommon as an object. What do you think about that for beginners? -I think it's great. I mean I think it's easy to find these pieces particularly if they're missing the lid or if they have a chip in the rim, you know, any of those things would be hidden in this application. -That's great because you know when I look at it as an appraiser I say no lid, chip, it really doesn't have a lot of value but what you've done is you've taken something that probably doesn't have a lot of value ordinarily and really make something beautiful out of it. A soup tureen like this with lid and no chip in today's market is probably worth around $400 or $500. -Yes. -Now at auction with a chip without a lid you'd be talking probably less than $100. -You could pick this up very easily. -Very easily and in various colors.
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