In addition to their early-1970s series of Limnettes®, the Cybis studio also created various other plaques and decorative plates during the 1980s and 1990s. (The three circa-1950s religious themed plaques will appear in a separate post.)
The studio did make 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 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. Plaques are a bit more than 7.5” diameter; 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 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 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 open edition Flower Plate. The original issue price is unknown but it appears on the existing Cybis site for $495. This was not a mounted piece. It 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. It too appears on the present Cybis site at $495. 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, originally as a limited edition of 2500 at $295. However, the Cybis site now shows it as an open edition and it’s not known when the change of “status” took place. This may be the same situation as with the figure skaters who originally began production as limited editions but the Cybis site now shows as non-limited. If the studio did indeed ‘demote’ sculptures, that is disturbing. This plate is 8” diameter and appears in the “All Occasion Gifts” section of the existing Cybis site at $295.
The very elaborate framed limited edition Moses Plaque was introduced in 1981. The original declared edition was 50 but this was reduced to 25 in 1982. 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.
Another 1987 introduction, which I have no photograph of, was the Rose Plaque ‘Nature’s Beauty’ which was a limited edition of 500 priced at $1350. This is quite a hefty price for a botanical plaque! The dimensions were given on a price list as 20″ high and 17″ wide but no indication of whether or not that was a “framed” size or even if it did have a frame. It is definitely in the same size category as the Moses and Holy Child of Prague plaques shown above. I’d love to locate a photo!
The oval Unicorn Plaque is an open edition from 1989 currently seen on the Cybis site for $295. It is 4” high and 3.25” wide.
A small plaque whose issue date is unknown but possibly also from the late 1980s or early 1990s is Heavenly Music. It is 5.5” in diameter; on the Cybis site it retails for $395 in either the color version shown or in “white embellished with gold.” (This is the same color-option format as the second Nativity Series) 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 are open-edition Christmas themes: one secular and the other religious. A late-2008 price list on the Cybis site described them both as “bas relief” rather than “plate” or “plaque” but because one of them is now titled by Cybis as a “plate”, I have applied that description to both.
The Victorian Santa Plate was introduced in 1987 for $675. It is 11.5″ high and 9″ at the widest point. Like most of the other Cybis Christmas-themed items it is available in color and gold-embellished white; current pricing for both colorway versions of this plate is the same at $895.
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. Issue price was probably $695 or $725. The 2008 website showed only the name and a price of $795 without specifying a color version. This piece no longer appears on the Cybis site which means it is now retired.
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