1901 Artist’s Case – China and Porcelain Painting, Supplies and Tools

Oh man – this was like opening a treasure chest!  I love Antique items, especially things that were ‘personal’, things that carry a hint of the previous owner like a name or initials, dates or paper clippings or like this – tools and dreams.


Talk about eye candy!  Wouldn’t this make a fabulous display – all those colors !?!  Not to mention the ‘slightly’ used tools, the glass vials and cork stoppers.  What a great photo prop this would be.


This is an artist’s case, made of metal, that has four divided compartments and the customized tray lifts out (using the nifty little rings) to expose another area beneath.  The tray has little scalloped beds that hold the glass vials neatly and safely.  But what’s in those vials?


Each one is filled with powdered minerals used for painting porcelain or china.  Most of these vials are “Fry’s Vitrifiable Colors for China” from “Fry’s Art Company New York City”.

I was able to find very little on this product and company but I do know that Fry’s Art Company was located at 36 West 24th St in New York City and according to “The Art Armature” magazine issue Feb, 1901, was offering classes by Marshal Fry Jr.

Another item in the case is a small bottle of “Liquid Gold Medium” by Warren.  The Warren-O’Hara Company was established in 1854 and still selling product in 1913.  An advertisement in “The Art Armature” was for “Dorothea Warren O’Hara Enamels – for decorating All Kinds of China” (1912).


The case is fairly small, barely 11 inches, but the general condition of the case (see how clean it is?) and the fullness of the bottles suggest that this setup was barely/rarely used.


The overall condition of the outside of the case is also in good shape with just a little bump to the right rear corner.  But the hinges, handle and latch are perfect.


But whether you kept the case and contents intact and on display or pulled a few of those wonderful little bottles out to use as feature accents in a mixed media piece – well, that could be a quandary alright.

CFC Detail 1

Those beautiful little vials of color with their lovely patina of age just beg to be made into a piece of art, don’t they?

The two pictures above were borrowed off Google images just to give you some ideas of the possibilities that come loaded in this Antique Artist’s Case.

This little chest of wonders is now listed in my Etsy shop Old Raven and you can go right to it by clicking on the link below:


I hope you enjoyed the trip back to New York one hundred years ago – have a great day. – Kriss

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