Carrying the Newcomb College name, this rare sewing bag fetched a bundle

Who made this linen and silk bag featuring a Louisiana landscape is unknown. The quality of its craftmanship, however, is clear.

  • Wednesday, April 10, 2024 1:30am
  • Life
The skilled craftsmanship, earthy colors and organic design on this Newcomb College sewing bag recall what makes the college’s famous pottery so appealing.

The skilled craftsmanship, earthy colors and organic design on this Newcomb College sewing bag recall what makes the college’s famous pottery so appealing.

Ceramics collectors know Newcomb College for its famous pottery. From 1895 to the 1940s, students at the college, which was, at the time, Tulane University’s coordinate women’s college, decorated the ceramics that Newcomb Pottery sold. In accordance with the Arts and Crafts movement, the intention was to both teach the students vocational skills and encourage their appreciation for decorative arts and fine craftsmanship.

Like many Arts and Crafts communities or guilds, Newcomb College students worked in multiple media. They bound books, crafted metalwork and, perhaps most notably, created textiles, with fiber arts classes introduced in the early 1900s.

This sewing bag, which sold at Treadway Gallery, is one of the textiles made during the program. Unlike the pottery, it is not signed or marked; we don’t know the name of the artisan who made it. Like the pottery, the design incorporates local Louisiana plant life; here, a landscape with trees. Made in linen and silk, it is simply designed and skillfully crafted. Its rarity as well as its quality and the Newcomb College name brought its sale price to $4,445. Newcomb pottery can also sell for as much and even more.

Q: We have 21 large totes, all wrapped, full of the Royal Copley collection, and are wondering how to sell them all together. We have more than one of some pieces, and we have names and prices in a notebook. Could you help with this?

A: Royal Copley is a name used by the Spaulding China Company in Sebring, Ohio, from 1939 to 1960. The most famous Royal Copley pieces are figurines, figural planters and head vases, which were sold at department stores. There are several options for selling an entire collection. You can check antique shops and consignment stores in your area to see if they sell similar items. Consignment shops usually know what price to ask, but antiques dealers will want you to set the price. An auction house is another option. Or you could contact a matching service like Replacements LTD to see if they are interested in buying your collection. No matter what you do, be sure to check for any fees or insurance requirements and get a signed contract before you sell.

Q: I was wondering if you could point me in the direction to identify a claw and ball parlor table. It is not at all like any I’ve researched. It possibly was customized at one point. It has a gold finish with what appears to be a faux marble finish on the top and lower shelf. Wondering if it’s trash or treasure. Can you suggest a place where I can research similar items?

A: Parlor tables were popular in the Victorian era, or mid- to late 19th century, when every fashionable household had to have a parlor room where the family could relax and, more importantly, receive guests. They were usually small (so they could be easily moved to accommodate guests) and of course highly decorative, often with a lower shelf to hold items like books, writing supplies or games. Claw and ball tables were especially popular in the Golden Oak period, which lasted from about 1880 to 1920. Victorian furniture usually had lavish decorations like carvings, moldings, finishes, inlay and gilding. Faux marble finishes have been used for hundreds of years. It’s possible that your table could be from the Victorian era, or it could be a later reproduction. Or, as you suggested, it could have been altered. It may take an expert to tell. Look for local resources — consult a furniture dealer in your area or look for books at your local library about furniture history, especially Victorian furniture, reproductions and how to authenticate antique furniture. If there is a house museum in your area or an art museum with a decorative arts department, they may also have helpful information. Of course, we also suggest looking at the furniture sections of Kovels price guides to see if anything looks familiar!

TIP: The original color of old fabrics may be an off-white color or ivory, not the gleaming white we see in modern fabrics.

On the block

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

Sewing, kit, egg-shape case, plastic, green, gold-tone netting, contains three needles, two pins, two safety pins, thread, thimble, marked, Mosell, 2½ inches, $70.

Villeroy & Boch, vase, art nouveau, light green ground, stylized flowers around shoulder and lip, hand engraved, six-sided, circa 1900, 12 inches, $110.

Toy, dollhouse, two-story, Georgian style, two hinged front panels, painted, red trim, black roof, two chimneys, wood, 20th century, 24 by 27 by 10 inches, $200.

Cloisonne, box, round, lid, phoenix, turquoise feathers, multicolor, geometric borders, blue ground, red lacquer interior, Japan, late 19th century, 3¾ inches, $260.

Purse, leather, shoulder bag, Looping, brown, allover monogram, tan leather rolled handles, brass zip closure, suede interior, Louis Vuitton, 8½ by 10 inches, $595.

Jewelry, necklace, pendant, bow, diamonds, rose cut, old European cut, single cut, detachable pin back, art deco, 22 inches, $755.

Orrefors, vase, Kraka, shaded blue, fishnet, cased glass, marked, no. 22, Sven Palmquist, circa 1960, 13 inches, $875.

Store, sign, “Millinery.,” capital letters, black, white ground, painted, wood, two-sided, 19th century, 16 by 146 inches, $1,095.

Rug, Beshir, 24 panels, checkerboards & diagonal stripes, Turkmenistan, early 1900s, 11 feet 4 inches by 9 feet, $1,475.

Furniture, desk, writing, L. & J.G. Stickley, top hutch with eight drawers, long center drawer flanked by two drawers on each side, refinished top, branded mark, circa 1912, 36 by 48 by 30 inches, $2,175.

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