Glassware pieces, like this vase that are painted with white enamel are commonly described as Mary Gregory style.
An aunt gave me this pretty 10-inch vase. I can’t find any markings to help identify it. What can you tell me about it?
–C.L., Tucson, Arizona
What’s it worth?
Glassware pieces painted with white enamel are commonly described as “Mary Gregory” style. According to the story, it was named for a glass artist who channeled her longing for marriage and family into the hand-painting of thousands of pieces depicting children.
But while romantic, the story is just a myth! Mary Gregory did work for the Boston and Sandwich Glass Co. in the late 1800s, but never in this style. The white enamel painting style originated in Germany in the late 19th century, and it inspired many reproductions.
Today, “Mary Gregory” pieces in clear or colored glass include cologne bottles, powder jars, match holders, water sets and more. Lavishly adorned with several layers of enamel, they often silhouette children, landscapes, animals and elegant ladies. Early vases were lightweight and often had ruffled edges and a pontil mark showing they were hand-blown.
Your vase is old, but the gilt band indicates it’s most likely an imitation worth around $135.
—Barbara J. Eash (Country Woman Magazine’s Antiques Expert)