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Popular Art Ceramics Made from 1896 through 1924
The story of the Louwelsa line of Weller Pottery is interesting, but it does have a slightly shady side to it. You see, Samuel Weller acquired Lonhuda Pottery in 1895, after becoming acquainted with the company’s wares at the 1893 Chicago Exposition. The owner of the firm, William Long, came along with the deal but it was a short-lived partnership. It seems that once Weller became privy to Long’s secrets for producing faience pottery, he was no longer needed and apparently forced out of the company, so the story goes.
Weller’s product was then renamed Louwelsa in 1896 by combining letters from his infant daughter’s first name, Louise, along with letters from his own family and first names respectively. This type of art pottery was one of Weller’s best sellers and eventually encompassed more than 500 different styles of bowls and vases, according to justartpottery.com. It was also Weller’s production of this line that led to brought art pottery to the forefront as an industry in turn of the 20th century America.
Marks on Weller Louwelsa Pottery
There are many different Weller marks, including those distinctive to Louwelsa.
Early pieces of this pottery can be found with hand-incised “Weller” or “Weller Louwelsa” marks on the bases. Another mark used on some Louwelsa pieces is referenced as the “circular seal” mark by collectors. A half circle mark with the name “Louwelsa” impressed in the clay in an arched manner was also used between 1896 and the early 1900s, according to information provided by artpotteryblog.com.
About the Piece Shown Above:
This 7” brown vase depicting the profile of an American Indian chief, a popular Louwelsa motif, sold for $480 (not including buyer’s premium) at Morphy Auctions in January of 2013. The shape of this piece, known as a pillow vase, is not unusual but American Indian décor boosts prices of these brown pieces when compared to those with floral designs.
For more information on how the décor and color can impact the value of Louwelsa pottery, see page 2.Continue to 2 of 2 below.
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Weller Louwelsa: Décor, Colors, and How They Impact Values
The vast majority of Louwelsa products left the Weller factory with a high gloss glaze, and they were predominantly brown in coloration. In fact, the floral decorated brown pieces are the most commonly found items when it comes to Weller, and those can be purchased fairly reasonably with the exception of unusual mold shapes or sizes. For instance, a common Louwelsa vase with floral décor may sell in the $100-300 range, if not for less, while a similarly decorated jardinière with pedestal in excellent condition can bring $1,000-1,500 or more.
There are, of course, a couple of valuable exceptions that art pottery enthusiasts relish finding. The first is matte glazed Louwelsa, which rarely surfaces in today’s secondary marketplace. These pieces do not have a glossy finish like most other Louwelsa examples. The second type of rarity to watch for is blue glaze. Blue glazed pieces can be quite expensive to procure, if you can even locate them. Expect to pay in excess of $1,000 for any of these pieces when they are marketed by knowledgeable dealers.
About the Pieces Shown Above:
The four Louwelsa pieces shown here are great examples the type most often found by collectors. They feature brown glaze with varied floral themes decorating them. The largest of the four measures 8 3/4" tall. As a lot, at auction these sold for less than $400.