In addition to their early-1970s series of Limnettes®, the Cybis studio also created various other plaques and decorative plates during the 1980s. Their earlier plaques were all religious themed items from the 1950s, and were cast from commercial (purchased) molds rather than being original Cybis designs. There were at least two angel/cherub plaques from that era as well.
However, the studio made at least one porcelain plaque during the “Ispanky era”. Cybis in Retrospect mentions but does not illlustrate a Branch with Apples (plaque) as having been made in 1964 but has no other information other than a size of 8.5”.
The first circa-1980s plaque series was collectively called The Four Seasons although each was individually named. The porcelain plaque is mounted on green silk faille and framed behind glass. Only 60 of each ‘season’ were made, and they all sold for $875 each. The editions were either completed or closed before 1988.
The circular plaques are a bit more than 7.5” diameter; the frames are 11.25” square. They are among the relatively few Cybis pieces that have the Phoenix logo painted on instead of being a mold impression.
Spring Promise (upper) and Summer Dreams were both issued in 1982. Cybis released new sculptures twice a year (spring and fall) and if I recall correctly these were issued separately during that year. (The detail photo of Summer Dreams is from a different plaque than the one in the full photo, to show the differences that can occur during the painting process.)
The following year (1983) brought Autumn Glow and Winter Song. For some reason the shape of the painted Phoenix is different on these two: on the summer plaques it is painted in profile but on these it is drawn as if looked at from either above or below. All of the other painted Phoenix I’ve seen on sculptures have been in the ‘profile’ orientation.
1983 was also the introduction year for the non-limited Flower Plate. Although Cybis retired it only a few years later, they “resurrected” it in the mid 1990s again (something that was not supposed to happen once an item had been retired) for $395. Theh plate is 6.75” in diameter and sits about 7/8” inch high on the leaf-shaped ‘feet’. The phoenix is the normal mold impression on these. Each of the eight flowers depicted on the front has its name and traditional association within the “Language of Flowers”. Clockwise from the 1 o’clock position in the front photo:
Rose = Love (although for “love” the rose should be red, not pink)
Poppy = Consolation
Lily of the Valley = Sweetness
Pansy = Thoughts
Chrysanthemum = Truth
Violet = Faithfulness
Heliotrope = Devotion
Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum) = Purity
The Berry Plate, issued in 1984, was billed as the “companion” to the Flower Plate which it matches in size and overall style. This too was “resurrected” from retirement in the mid-1990s along with the Flower Plate and at the same pricepoint. Unlike the Flower Plate, the plants are simply identified by name on the plate’s reverse. Clockwise from noon in the front photo: blueberry, snowberry, raspberry, sea buckthorn, currants, blackberry, gooseberry, and wild strawberry. All are edible except perhaps the snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), upon which opinions differ: some say they are poisonous to humans – though not animals – while others maintain they are edible although certainly not tasty because they are high in saponins.
The Mothers Day Plate was introduced in 1987 as a limited edition of 2500 at $295; it is 8” in diameter. The edition is unlikely to have been completed before production ended.
The very elaborate framed limited edition Moses Plaque was introduced in Spring 1981 at $4500. The original declared edition of 50 was reduced to 25 in 1982, and was either completed or closed before 1988. The actual plaque is about 16” high and 12” wide; framed dimensions are approximately 24” x 20”. The design is based on the 1960s sculpture Moses, the Great Lawgiver. Additional detail views of the plaque and of the original sculpture can be seen in Old Testament Characters.
The equally elaborate Holy Child of Prague Plaque also appeared in 1981. This was an edition of only 25 from the start, and like the Moses Plaque was based on a previous Cybis sculpture. Its dimensions are virtually identical to that of the other plaque as well. Additional views and information are in the Holy Child of Prague post.
The 1987 rose plaque Nature’s Beauty was advertised as depicting a pink rose on a completely flat rectangular porcelain plaque. It has its own post because it was so different from anything the studio had offered before.
The oval Unicorn Plaque is a nonlimited edition from 1989, last selling for $295 from Cybis. It is 4” high and 3.25” wide.
A small plaque issued in the very early 1990s is Heavenly Music. It is 5.5” in diameter and was available in two versions: full color as shown, or white with gold accents like their Nativity series. In 1993 the white/gold was $275 and the color $395. I’m confused as to the theme of this design; they appear to be cherubs but cannot be, because there are no wings anywhere in evidence….yet they appear to be on a cloud, and hence the name.
The final two plate/plaque items derive from the same modified kidney-shape mold although their orientations are reversed. Both were non-limited editions in Christmas themes: one secular and the other religious.
The Victorian Santa Plate was introduced in 1987 and in 1989 a white-with-gold option was added, which in 1993 was $475 versus $575 for the color one shown above. It is 11.5″ high and 9″ at the widest point.
The Holy Family Plate appeared in 1989 and thus some will bear the special 50th Anniversary stamp if they were made during that year. It uses the same mold as the Victorian Santa Plate but in a “flipped” orientation. This too eventually received the color vs white/gold option; in 1993 this was priced slightly lower than the Victorian Santa plates: $450 and $475.
This oddity showed up in one of the 2019 auction lot sales of the Cybis studio’s backstock; it is a small (given its size relation to the other items in the same lot) Lion Head Plaque done in relief. This is clearly a test piece for something that was never brought into the retail line.
Another experimental piece from the same source, and frankly I had a hard time deciding how I should classify this; given the flat back and thin profile, it’s probably closer to a plaque than anything else so let’s call it a Tree Plaque. The auctioneer provided no dimensions but it is approximately 5” high and wide – more or less – compared to the adjacent known items in the same lot. It was never offered at retail in any form and may even be a casting of a ‘found’ item from another source. It seems odd that the studio signed it on the front rather than the reverse side as usual, however. Like many other items in the studio’s liquidation sale, it is quite dirty from poor storage.
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