Unique and Unusual Cordey Porcelain, Part 3

This latest group of unusual Cordey pieces also includes the four known styles of ‘couples’ (two figures on a single base), and a very unusual large trinket box.

Décor Items

Although this small (6.5” high) vase is often found in color, it was fairly rare for Cordey to produce anything in plain, undecorated white. This is glazed inside and out, and has Cordey as a mold impression on the underside.

For some reason, this vase reminds me strongly of a shaving brush! It is 12” high, 6.25” wide, and 4.5” deep. This is yet another example of the so-called ‘Cypia‘ colorway having been used for a Cordey item.

I’m assuming that the pink blobs on this vase are meant to be some type of rosette, although the relation they have to the leaf motif escapes me. It is very small, only 4.75” high, and 4” wide.

All-blue is not seen too often in Cordey, but this trinket box qualifies. Marked as design #7011, it is 5.5” wide but only 2.5” high and deep.

The atypical aspect of this 3.5” x 3.5” trinket box is not only the gaudy, very bright gold paint in the center of the rose, but also that the box mold depicts a face in addition to the usual assortment of curves and curlicues.

This large trinket box with a resting dog (Afghan hound?) on the lid is very unusual. It is not marked Cordey but there’s no doubt that that’s what it is, because the identical box mold, with identical gold decoration, was used by Cordey for their flower-topped boxes. This one also has a painted design number (6032) on the bottom, which falls within the Cordey numbering system for décor pieces.
Just to show how much larger this dog box is, compared to a more typical Cordey trinket box. The dog box is 6.5” high and has a 5”x7” footprint.

This cigarette holder came with its own matching saucer to sit on. The cigarette holder itself is only 1.5” tall and barely 3” wide; the saucer is 5.25” x 3.5 (approximately.) Notice that the cigarette holder mold’s surface depicts a tree; an appropriate use of this item nowadays could be to hold toothpicks!

Unfortunately, no sizes were given for this Cordey rooster (design #339) and hen (design #340).
Another example of the hen, this time painted in more realistic colors than the foregoing pair.

I really don’t know how to adequately describe this piece, and wonder if it was an experimental piece based on the mold that they used for their bird-on-branch. It is 5.5” tall, has an incised 1009 and also the number 1003 done in reddish paint. The numeral 1 was overwritten with a 6 in black pencil, making it look like 6003. (Perhaps not coincidentally, the bird-on-branch was design #6004.) The flower color is not seen regularly on Cordey items but is not totally unknown I can’t help thinking that this looks very much like a floral ‘ice cream cone’ placed on its side! The base also looks unfinished but it is glazed, so perhaps that’s what was intended.

This is the second colorway of this 8.5” diameter decorative plate that I have seen. It has design number 604 written in blue, a blue Cordey stamp, and a badly-applied Hand Painted stamp also in blue.
The other plate, which uses the same plate mold, was shown in my Unusual Cordeys, Part 2 post. This comparison demonstrates that the central motif was indeed hand painted – not a decal – because they are not identical. They would not have gone to the trouble of obtaining multiple different decals for this one production item, so it seems that F. Fenzl must have been someone whom they employed to paint these rose plate motifs.

Human Figures

Don’t these two figures in Edwardian garb make you think of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady? ‘Eliza’ is even holding a flower in her hand, and ‘Henry’ looks remarkably like Rex Harrison! Of course, it’s impossible for these to have been based on that movie, because it wasn’t released until 1964 – a decade or more after these pieces were made. These are 7.5” and 8” tall, respectively.

Next up, three busts who wear unusual hats!

This is some odd headgear, to be sure. It incorporates a turban with a decorative ‘chain’ in front, a wimple (scarf that hangs below the chin), and something that looks like a black stovepipe. This bust is 7” high and is marked as design #4010.

Here’s another ‘first thing I thought of was…’ bust, which is why I can’t help calling her the Milano-Hat Lady.
Seriously, how close is that hat to a Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie? Square off the corners, and you’ve got it. Or a chocolate-topped graham cookie, if you flip the cookie upside down. (Great. Now I’m hungry.)


This one is really unusual because it combines Cypia tonation with gold highlights for the lace wimple. Is the top section supposed to be a crown? Is she meant to be a queen or other royal person? She has an almost Middle Eastern or Byzantine look about her face; her eyes seem either partially closed or at least heavy-lidded. Rather fascinating, I think.

Most Cordey humans appear Western European/North American, although there was a smattering of Chinoiserie figures and busts. This lady is one exception. Her clothing style most closely resembles some traditional South America styles, especially in Ecuador. She is 8” high and is marked 3057 in black paint.

This red-headed gal immediately made me think of Lucille Ball, even though such a revealing neckline would never have made it onto the I Love Lucy set. She is 16” tall and her lace apron has a very nice sense of motion. However, her bodice appears to be just one step away from a ‘wardrobe malfunction’!

Whilst we are on the subject of scantily-clad ladies, here’s a wall sconce in a similar vein. Marked as design #7028, the sconce is about 8.5” high with a shelf area that is 6.5” wide and 4” deep.

Let’s turn to a couple of quite large (16” tall) busts that even Queen Victoria would approve of. Their design numbers (#5036 on the lady, #5037 on the gentleman) indicate that these were intended as companion pieces, even though some clearly-matching male-female busts have numbers that don’t follow that format.

This Colonial(?) gentleman is unusual because of the way he is painted. First, because he is dressed entirely in this deep rich ruby-red color; and second, because of the hand-painted floral design covering his jacket. The green leaves that decorate the tree stump contrast very nicely with this color scheme; well done, unknown Cordey painter!

Cordey Couples

I have spotted only three Cordey ‘couples’ – meaning a man and woman figure on a single base – so far. We know the official name of one of them because they appear in a Cordey catalog.

This page of a Cordey catalog lists this as the Colonial Pair, available in two colorways: pink (design #5044P) and blue (design #5044B). It is just a skootch over 11” tall, with slight variations according to exactly how the flowers on the treetop were done.
And here they are in real life.

I call this duo the ‘dancing couple’. This piece is 13” tall and about 7” wide if measured across from the man’s right hand to the woman’s left.

In this colorway, the man wears blue trousers, blue shoes, and a jacket decorated with a pattern of blue scrolls. In my opinion, this colorway is more interesting because of the clear contrast between the man’s and the woman’s clothing; the other couple seems to ‘match’ each other a little too closely. This is marked as design #4065. Many thanks to the helpful Archive reader who supplied these photos!
Here’s a ‘blue man’ dancing couple as a lamp base.

The third duo is one that I call the ‘courting couple’ because the man is singing a love song to the lady while playing his lute. It is the shortest of the three at 10” high because the couple is sitting. It seems to be design #4129, and there is much dipped lace in evidence.
These, too, were used for Cordey lamp bases.

This example is noteworthy because of its dramatically-reduced use of dipped lace. It is almost gone from the woman’s skirt, bustle, sleeves, and bodice; even the amount on her cuffs is reduced. The man’s collar has fewer lace tiers, and his cuffs – which previously resembled those of a flamenco dancer – are now far neater.

I have only seen one of these so far. The plain (not sculpted) base strongly suggests that this particular piece originally served as a lamp base. It is 12” high and 9” wide.

My next Cordey post will look at some of their more unusual lamps.

Browse other posts about Cordey

Name Index of Cybis Sculptures [no Cordey]
Visual Index (for human Cybis figures/busts only)

About the Cybis Reference Archive
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