Question: My photo shows a label found on the back of "The Mill," an original etching I own which appears to be signed by "H. Briand." I would appreciate information about the label and the art as well as its value. - J.F.
Answer: Printed on your picture's label, "SZL" within a triangle is the trademark of art entrepreneur, Sidney Zoltan Lucas. An importer, publisher and distributor of wholesale and retail art from the 1920s through the mid-1960s, Lucas was the first North American publisher of Salvador Dali's lithographs.
Lucas, owner of a New York City print shop, produced thousands of prints, etchings, aquatints and reproductions often based on original works supplied by little-known Continental artists. Lucas art labels frequently bear the imprint of the "Paris Etching Society," his company which recruited and contracted with such artists to publish their work.
Despite considerable research, I was unable to find artist "H. Briand" listed in a number of fine art directories or online, although a C. Briand is recorded as a 19th century painter. It is possible you may be able to locate information in the art section of a large municipal library.
During the 1930s and 1940s, affordable Lucas art issued in large runs was sold to the masses by department stores and decorator shops. Common subjects are French landscapes, rural and village scenes, cottages, mills, bridges, animals and children. While asking prices for some of the pictures are as high as $325, most current sale receipts range from $10 to $70, based on rarity, artist, subject, condition, size and frame.
Question: My grandmother's brown, three-piece Roseville tea set consists of a teapot, sugar bowl and cream pitcher. Received as a wedding gift during the late 1940s, it is decorated with three large lilies. A raised script "Roseville USA" mark and numbers are on the bottom of each piece. What can you tell me about this set? - B.B., Dennisville
Answer: Founded at Roseville, Ohio in 1890 and incorporated during 1892, Roseville Pottery Co. produced millions of utilitarian and decorative pottery items until declining interest in the ware and 1954 sales of the firm ended production.
The tea set you have described is Roseville's "Zephyr Lily" pattern, introduced in 1946. Its decoration features a trio of large yellow and pink lilies offered on a brown, blue or green background. The set's pieces typify sturdy design elements found on Roseville items during the pottery's Late Period.
Eventually consigned to attics and basements, once cherished Roseville pieces emerged and reigned as collectible favorites during the 1980s. By the mid-1990s, poor quality fakes made in China without a "USA" mark were flooding the market, resulting in a downward spiral of interest in Roseville and the collapse of value.
Recently, prices of authentic examples sold at auction have risen somewhat. Pristine green Zephyr Lily tea sets are selling for $125 to $235, blue sets are bringing $210 to $250 and a brown set has fetched $325.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Life section, The Press of Atlantic City, 11 Devins Lane, Pleasantville, N.J. 08232. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.