The year was 1907.
Oklahoma was about to become a state.
World War I hadn’t even begun.
Women weren’t allowed to vote.
The Titanic was nothing more than a design.
“School Days (When We Were a Couple of Kids)” was the #1 popular music hit.
And this bowl, in the “Homestead” pattern (technically #63), was made by Duncan & Miller.
It’s a miracle that so many pieces like this have survived butterfingers, wars, earthquakes, fires, and countless household moves. Collectors eagerly seek them out and care for them to ensure that they’ll last another 106 years.
So you can imagine how we feel when we see these lovely antiques are presented as “shabby chic” décor, their stunning beauty covered over by “distressed paint” in trendy cottage colors.
They can be very pretty. But they’re no longer able to sparkle in the light, their bevels, stars, shells and buttons hidden behind garish makeup. There’s no acknowledgement of their noble history. Their pattern names and makers are ignored.
I’d love to post a photo as an example, but I want to make an appeal, not embarrass any individual.
Sadly, you can find plenty of examples if you do a search.
There is a lot of modern dreck that could be dressed up in similar fashion, and actually improved in the process.
The dollar store has countless “pressed glass” creamers, sugars, vases, cups and plates that might look nice gussied up in paint and gilt — and you can satisfy your inner crafter for a lot less money, as well!
But there is absolutely no reason to destroy a precious remnant of another, more elegant, time for the sake of a passing fancy. Like purpled glass or “refinished” furniture, far too many EAPG treasures are being treated like yesterday’s trash.
One day, sadly, they will become tomorrow’s trash. Removing the paint may not restore the original sparkle, and serious collectors want originals that are as perfect as possible.
There’s nothing wrong with “distressing” an object to create your own artistic statement. But please do some research before you begin, to make sure that you aren’t permanently destroying the work of another artist — one whose work has already stood the test of time.