We are offering a stunning set of twelve (12) Osborne Art Studio scarlet and gold service plates, in excellent condition, each measuring 10-3/4" in diameter. Consistent with the high standards of the Osborne Art Studio, these opulent plates are a virtual feast of gilding and porcelain artwork: set with a cream background, these plates feature a 1/4" gold laurel leaf border at the outer edge, and a 1" wide gold acid-etched rose and daisy border starting at the verge. These two elaborately gilded bands sandwich a beautiful 1-3/8" scarlet band overlaid with a baroque gilt stencil design. One more thin, gold band at the verge frames the center of each of the plates, which feature four different scenes of lovers, in the style of Watteau or Fragonard.
Our informed estimate is that these Osborne Art Studio service plates were produced sometime between 1914 and 1925, and here is the basis for our reasoning: First, the weight of the plates is on the ‘sturdy’ side. Osborne Olsen typically liked to use Rosenthal, or other western European blanks for his decorating efforts. The plates produced by European companies tended to be lighter and thinner, whereas American-made blanks were often heavier in weight. It became very difficult to obtain European blanks during World Wars I and II, so during those times Osborne increased his use of American-made blanks. Thus, because the plates in this set are quite sturdy, they are likely of American manufacture. Second, the decoration on these plates is consistent with the style favored between 1915 and 1925. In addition, each of these vintage porcelain plates has 3-pronged marks on the bottom, undoubtedly made by a turn of the century decorating wheel (please view our photographs). An item produced later in the century would have been decorated on a more modern wheel that would not have left these tell-tale marks.
It was the practice in fine houses of the late 19th and early 20th centuries for service plates to be set at each place on a dinner table, alongside the candlesticks, silver, crystal and flowers, in order to produce an elegant presentation for the dinner guests. When it was time to serve the food, the servants would typically remove the elaborate service plates and replace them with different, more utilitarian plates upon which dinner would be served. That is undoubtedly why our plates are in excellent condition, with only the slightest signs of wear. They have not been damaged by stacking -- you will find the verge bands clean and uninterrupted - and the gilding on the exterior rims is undamaged. Please examine our photographs carefully, as they are as good an indication of condition as our description.
BRIEF HISTORY: Osborne Theomun Olsen was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 9, 1883, born of parents who had emigrated from Norway. Osborne and his siblings survived a fairly traumatic childhood in which their father and their mother died within an 11-day period of unrelated causes; two months later, the paternal uncle who took them in was hit by a train. Finally, a maternal aunt took Osborne and his siblings in and successfully raised them to adulthood.
Osborne was a talented artist from a very early age; he opened his Art Studio in 1910, and became a member of the Chicago Art Institute in 1911, at the age of 28. Osborne’s mainstay work was china and porcelain decorating, but he never limited his business name or his description of himself to the ceramic arts. Instead, he always referred to his business as an "art studio" and to himself as an "artist." Even though his studio was quite small compared to the contemporary studios of Pickard, Stouffer or Donath, Osborne turned out beautiful, high quality ceramic art pieces. He did not place a high priority on developing a recognizable backstamp for his studio works, and often affixed a sticker to the bottom of his wares. The stickers came off quite easily, and there are many unmarked pieces in circulation as a result.
Although Osborne owned his studio, he also produced a vast amount of his own work, always signing his pieces "Osborne". If this printed signature is found on an unmarked piece, it is most certainly a product of the Osborne Art Studio, and painted by Osborne Olsen himself. On marked pieces, Osborne would sign his own work on the face of the ceramic piece.