What Ho! For several years I have been doing an ongoing study of Whitefriars fakes. I have a ‘Genuine’ lilac Onion vase so I can show you the difference between real and fake examples.
Firstly, I am not a collector of Onion (sometimes called Puffa Fish) vases. I now own 1 example and I also own a fake, purchased (along with a Hooped and various types of Bricks) deliberately to do studies on them and hopefully educated people so they don’t inadvertently buy one.
The 9758 Onion vase first appeared in the 1971 supplement and last appeared in the 1974 catalogue. The standard factory colours are Sage, Lilac, Aubergine, Pewter, Meadow Green, Tangerine and Kingfisher. They are catalogued at being 5 ¼” but this may vary a bit and they are often a little taller at 5 ½”.
The fake Onion and Hooped (the Bricklayer was before this) first appeared in the UK in April 2008. When I received my fakes they were all in the original boxes which they were supplied to the dealer in. I found a label which does give us the date of manufacture and some sort of product code and I have since found out that they were made in Portugal and these 2 are no longer in production as far as I know.
I think the Onion is the hardest to spot, certainly from a distance or off an eBay photo and it must be said that they have done a pretty good job replicating this vase.
The proportions of the fake are pretty much exactly the same (see pic below) as the Whitefriars, the only slight difference is the Whitefriars is slightly more shouldered, it has more of a taper and less of a nozzle.
The texturing of the fake is a bit more course than that of the Whitefriars example.
The base is one of the best give-aways. They have tried to replicate a ground pontil (concave depression in the base) but it simply isn’t right. A genuine Onion will have a moulded ripplely looking base with a ground and highly polished pontil. The fake is the other way round, it has a flat ground base with a moulded pontil.
Some of the fakes may have a ’V’ inscribed on the base, this is where somebody bought job lot and inscribed a ‘V’, calling it the Vase Heaven range.
A Hooped example.
4. The Top
One of the easiest ways of telling if it’s a fake Onion or not is to look at it from the top. The fakes have round opening and the Whitefriars will have an oval.
The colours that I have seen them in are green, ruby and aubergine. The (meadow) green is close to the WF colour although slightly darker, (see pic) but the aubergine in too dark. The ruby is a non standard colour for Onion vases.
I hope this information is helpful and if there are any errors or omissions please inform me so I can edit this thread, Wolfie
PS Sorry about using Tinypics, these images are permanently stored, feel free to change them if you wish.
pps Please keep any replies relevant to the fake onion only!