Paul Scott at RISD Museum

September 26th, 2021

If you noticed a break in my weekly postings, it is because I have been busy working on a Disney movie in Providence, Rhode Island. The project has been fun so far, allowing me to shop for antiques – as well as other less exciting things – throughout New England. And yes, I have found a few antiques with inventive repairs, which I will post in the near future.

Today I finally made it to RISD Museum to see the work of Paul Scott. Those of you who have been following my posts over the years know that Paul is a ceramic artist from Cumbria, UK. He is known for incorporating kintsugi and other forms of repair into his work, and has exhibited his unique ceramics worldwide. His current exhibit, Raid the Icebox Now/New American Scenery, juxtaposes antique blue and white transfer ware pottery from the museum’s collection alongside Paul’s stunning new work. It is on view now through December 30, 2021 so please stop by if you can.

Mocha ware bowl with staples, c.1780

September 11th, 2021

I bought this gorgeous mocha ware pottery punch bowl with marble and combed slip decoration & checkerboard rim a few years ago from Christine Hanauer, a collector/dealer in Connecticut. The striking colors and bold decoration have made this bowl a favorite of mine. It was made in England in the late 1700s and measures 7.25 inches in diameter and 3 inches high.

Although the repair is hard to detect, there are 5 metal staples stabilizing cracks along one side of the bowl. I am a big fan of mocha ware and am thrilled to have this wonderful example in my collection.

P.S. Christine made a batch of mocha ware cookies, seen in the last photo, for the attendees of Don Carpentier’s Dish Camp in 2012. So well done and almost too good to eat!

Glass beehive oil lamp with metal witch’s hat base, c.1850

August 15th, 2021

This beehive form glass oil lamp measures 6.25 inches high and was most likely made in the USA in the middle 1800s. It maintains its original brass oil burner fitting but lost its original glass base many years ago. As oil lamps were in daily use, it’s not unusual that many were broken and ultimately repaired in inventive ways. I have dozens of glass oil lamps in my collection with variations on metal and wood replacement bases.

When the lamp base became detached well over 100 years ago, a skilled tinsmith made this metal replacement base which resembles a witch’s hat. Please enter “oil lamp” in my search window to see many more examples of oil lamp repairs.

This lamp with similar form shows what the simple glass base on my lamp may have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Collect Lamps

Silver lustre cream jug with metal handle, c.1840

August 7th, 2021

This silver lustre pottery cream jug with molded ribbing was made in England, c.1840. It measures 3.5 inches high, 6.5 inches wide.

Well over 100 years ago after the jug took a tumble, a metal replacement handle with crimped edges and an upper horizontal support strap was added by a tinsmith. Tin repairs such as this are perhaps the most common type of make-do repair and I have dozens of similar examples in my collection.

This silver lustre cream jug with similar form shows what the original handle on my jug may have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Catawiki

Teapot signed “Coombs China Burner”, c.1780

July 25th, 2021

This Chinese export porcelain drum-form teapot was made during the Qianlong Dynasty (1736-1795) and has a divided entwined handle with molded leaves and flowers at terminals, along with a molded berry with leaves shaped finial on the lid. It was decorated for the European market in the Famille Rose palette with floral sprays and blue ribbons, and measures 5.25 inches high, 10.25 inches wide from handle to spout.

At first glance this sturdy teapot looks a bit out of place on these pages of ceramics and glassware, mostly riddled with obvious repairs. But in fact, the spout was repaired in the late 1700s in a most inventive way by a china burner in Bristol, UK. Painted in red on underside is “Coombs, China Burner, Queens Street, Bristol”. Coombs fused the broken spout to the teapot by refiring the pot with glass silica. His calling card (last image) boasts “Burns all sorts of foreign china, such as dishes, plates, bowls…teapots, boats, coffee pots, mugs, etc. Likewise, rivets and rims, china bowls and glasses in the neatest manner.” What’s thrilling about Coombs’ work is that his pieces are signed, unlike most other repaired items which remain anonymous. I have a few more signed pieces repaired by Coombs, which I will post in the future.

Bone fork with silver repair, c.1880

July 18th, 2021

This bone salad serving set, which measures 10.5 inches long, appears to have been made in France, c.1880. Long ago, one of the fork prongs broke off and was repaired by a silversmith, who added a wide band to help secure the break. As many antique bone salad servers were made with silver handles or embellishments, this silver repair seems appropriate.

Here’s a more upscale set of French salad servers with original ornate silver handles.

Photo courtesy of Catawiki

Chinese mug with metal & rattan handle, c.1785

July 2nd, 2021

I purchased this cylindrical form porcelain mug at auction last year, along with many lots of mugs, teapots, jugs, goblets, and oil lamps. As a result of my forced hiatus from work due to the pandemic, I was able to leisurely research and catalog the 50+ new pieces to my collection. This pretty mug in the Famille Rose palette has floral swag and tassel decoration in pink, purple, green, and orange. It was made in China during the Qianlong period (1736-95) and stands 4.5 inches high.

After the handle broke off, a bronze replacement was attached by carefully drilling through the body. Although I seem to have countless replacement handles such as this in my collection, each are a little different in size, proportion, and material. I especially enjoy the patterns created by the thinly cut rattan, woven over the handle as insulation and to help form a tighter grip.

This example, with similar form and decoration, shows what the original handle on my mug would have looked like before it took a tumble.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

Glass water goblet with wood base, c.1865

June 27th, 2021

This EAPG (Early American Pressed Glass) water goblet in the Bullseye & Rosette – aka Star – pattern was most likely made in Pittsburgh, PA by Bakewell, Pears & Company. It dates from 1865 and stands 6.75 inches high.

At one point in its early life, the original glass base snapped off and was replaced by a turned wood replacement. The new base appears to be an at home repair, repurposed from a section of a stair newel post, as seen in the last photo. A lovely example of making-do, don’t you think?

This goblet with a similar pattern suggests what the original base on mine would have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Early American Pattern Glass Society

Photo courtesy of eBay

Barroom brawl survivor, c.1880

June 20th, 2021

I’d like to imagine that this pewter tankard lost its original handle during a rowdy barroom brawl, sometime in the late 1800s. How else would you explain the sturdy metal handle becoming detached? One can only imagine the scenario of punching fists, smashed chairs, and flying drinking vessels. This survivor was most likely made in England at the end of the 19th century and measures 6.75 inches high with an opening of 3.75 inches. It has an engraved monogram of “DAO.”

After the broken tankard was picked up off of the barroom floor, it was was fitted with a thin metal replacement handle with thumb rest. Though diminutive in scale, the new handle does the trick in allowing the ale to be served again. This time men, please be more careful and leave the drinkware alone.

Photo courtesy of Invaluable

This example suggests what the original handle on my tankard might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

Delft jug with pewter lid, c.1690

June 6th, 2021

I purchased this ovoid Dutch Delft blue & white earthenware jug from a dealer last year because I loved the stylized decoration and the unusual inventive repair. It has a slightly flared neck, blue & white Chinoiserie decoration, and a scroll handle. Jug was made in Holland in the late 1600s.

The pewter lid with a patch to cover the missing spout is one I have not seen before. I assumed that liquids would not pour well from this damaged vessel, but was pleasantly surprised how well the water flowed. I guess that the tinker or whoever did the repair over 150 years ago knew what they were doing.

Here’s another jug with similar form and decoration, but without damage. I prefer mine over this “perfect” example.

Photo courtesy of Anticstore