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I came across these two pieces at a recent estate sale.  I'd like to find out approximate age and what art period they would belong to.  They measure about 20" in length, about 8" wide.  Pieces weigh almost 4 lbs each, so fairly heavy.  The backing is wood that has been covered with cloth material, and the sculptures themselves appear to be maybe brass or bronze, they are non magnetic.  Male and Female each playing musical instrument.  The backings are quite fragile and material has started to deteriorate.  Looking for any helpful information on identification of these pieces.  They certainly appear quite old, were hanging on the wall of an old estate. Thank you.  Karen. 

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Replies to This Discussion

Neat. White metal/regule' perhaps from the white oxidation?

The white on the boy's horn looks like ceramic to me. What is it?  Neither brass nor bronze emits white stuff, but ceramics do. Could it be bronze paint over ceramic? The boy appears to be blowing a hunting horn for dogs rather than playing music. His dress/garb also looks like hunting clothes.

Is that rectangular thing on back a hatch secured by 2 bolts/nuts? If so, what's inside? Possibly they are wall sconces for lights, electric or gas (natural).

I think the zinc in white metal will oxidize white or some other alloyed metal in it..

Thank you for responses so far. I think the white residue was just something stuck or left on the figurine, I was able to knock it off with my fingernail and wipe it down with a damp paper towel, the white is gone now. Actually when I flick the figurine with my finger, there is more of a ring, so I definitely think it is some type of metal. As far as the rectangle on the back, that is actually glued securely in place. The screws and bolts that are shown are actually holding the piece on top and below the figurine in place.

Okay, thank you. Each person is standing atop a triangular stand and standing under a similar shaped roof. I can't see anything inside, thought maybe a lightbulb screwed into it or maybe a gas lamp of some kind.  Is there a hole where a candle may have stood?

If no, then it's a wall scounce knick-knack. Probably they were mounted  on either side of a fireplace and/or mantle.  There was a foundry in Germany that made stuff like that. Their mark was on the bottom in the center. Very tiny, "WMFM". Hard to see. Or just "WMF". Circa, 1860s-1900. I'm not saying it is, just it could be.  Look closely for the mark. BTW, WMF is still in business.

Thank you so much for the additional information.   Nope, nothing inside, just the figurines themselves.  Don't see any markings, but they are quite dirty so may try to clean them up a bit.  Thanks again. Karen

Very neat! They are from the 1880s-90s. The velvet backs are of the same technique that was used at the time for photo albums, while the pot metal figures were probably made by a company that made clock toppers. They'd look great hung in wall niches.

Dampen a soft cloth and wipe off any dust, dirt, cobwebs,etc. BUT DO NOT CLEAN THEM so they look brand new. Doing so will destroy 120-150 years of patina and lessen the value. But, hey they belong to you and if you want to paint them to match your curtains that's your prerogative.

Thanks LB for your help and suggestions.

Thank you both for the additional information. I will likely just sell these and I have learned over the years to never make any attempts to change or clean what I buy or find.
I have to say, I have contacted your group several times over the past few years and always find your members to be so knowledgeable and informative. It is always so much appreciated!


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