Ever wonder who invented the table? The earliest tables seem to have been used by the ancient Egyptians, although they did not sit near it; they used the flat top to hold things. It was not until the days of the Greeks and Romans that tables were used in a house near a seated person. By the Middle Ages, large tables were used for banquets and there were special rules about the seating. But today we can find many tables made for specific tasks, like sewing, dining, playing games or holding a candle, a lamp or a special ornament. Tables have flat tops with three, four or more legs, or an unusual base.
Twentieth-century designers became adventurous and made tables that were placed on the backs of two carved statues or on a series of geometric shaped blocks. Perhaps the strangest table seen recently is the “Foot Art” side table. It has a flat top, one drawer with a human nose for a handle, and a resin foot for the base. The large foot in a blue boot supports the top on three metal rods stretching up from the inside of the boot. It was sold by Burchard Galleries in Florida.
A: Your figurine was made by the Carl Scheidig porcelain factory, which was established in Grafenthal, Germany, in 1906. Figurines, decorative porcelain and gift items were made. The company was nationalized from 1972 to 1990 and concentrated on making figurines. It is still in business in Grafenthal, now operating as the Grafenthal Porcelain Factory. This mark was first used in 1990 and is still in use. Figurines like this, with long, graceful lines similar to Lladro, sell online for about $10 to $20, just what your brother paid.
Q: I inherited two oil paintings by Stuart Scott Somerville. One has a label on the back that says: “A Muted Bunch.” I think they need cleaning. They both are about 29 by 24 inches and have the original gilt frames. I looked at the cost of cleaning a long time ago and found it expensive. Also, the restorer wants them reframed. My mother may have purchased them in London a long time ago. During World War II, they were hidden in China and eventually shipped to her. How much are they worth?
A: Stuart Scott Somerville (1908-1983) was a British artist. His paintings sometimes sell at auctions. Art galleries and museums have access to past sales and can help you find what his paintings have sold for. They also can refer you to reputable restorers in your city. Cleaning the paintings may add value, but don’t reframe them. The original frames add value.
Tip: Use your phone camera at a flea market. Record things you might want to buy later. Record marks, etc. to look up.