Miniature creamware teapot, c.1785

November 22nd, 2020

I marvel at miniatures and have collected them since I was around 12 years old. As much as I love well proportioned miniature antiques, I am over the moon for antique miniatures with inventive repairs. With that in mind, you can see why this tiny teapot sends me reeling.

This child’s creamware pottery drum form teapot with painted flowers and cherries stands a mere 2.5 inches high and is just over 3.5 inches from handle to spout. It was made in England during the 4th quarter of the 18th century. At some point in its early history, I imagine a child dropped the teapot during play teatime and the original handle broke off. Luckily for the child and eventually for me, a tinsmith made a metal replacement handle and the imaginary tea was able to flow again. Wouldn’t it be great to find an entire miniature tea set with each piece possessing a different early repair? Well, I can dream, can’t I?

This teapot with similar form suggests what the original loop handle on my teapot might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

Small brass candle holder, c.1880

November 15th, 2020

This petite brass candle holder with turned wood replacement base stands just 3.25 inches high. As there’s not much to go on here, it’s hard to know exactly what it looked like intact. It appears to have been made in England in the late 1800s.

I come across brass antiques with inventive repairs less frequently than ceramic examples, as they are more durable. Please click on these 3 other examples of brass candle holders I previously posted, each with interesting early repairs: Brass candle holder with wood base, c.1880, Brass candle holder, c.1880, Brass candlestick with nutty base, c.1875.

Unless I find an exact match to my remaining fragment, I can only imagine what the complete candle holder looked like. Here’s a grouping showing a multitude of different bases so let your imagination run wild.

Photo courtesy of Birchard Hayes & Company

Mystery make-do pickle jar? c.1875

November 8th, 2020

This EAPG (Early American Pressed Glass) jar with a screw top in the Pequot pattern measures 5.25 inches high with a 3.75 inch opening. Although its maker is unknown, I believe the jar dates to the 1870s. After extensive research, I believe this to be a pickle jar. Most curious is the metal base, which does not appear to be a replacement. Perhaps this is not a make-do after all?? If anyone has any information on this unusual piece, please let me know.

This pickle jar in the same pattern has neither a screw top nor a metal base.

Photo courtesy of the Early American Pattern Glass Society

Happy Halloween, 2020!

October 31st, 2020

Could 2020 have been any scarier? With the double whammy of the worldwide pandemic still threatening our lives during one of the most polarizing US presidential elections in history, I think not.

Here are some of the scariest victims of metal staple repairs in my collection, no doubt inspired by Frankenstein’s monster himself.

I’m going to assume the hidden side of the teacup is riddled with metal staples.

Have a spooktacular Halloween!

Boris Karloff photos courtesy of Universal Pictures

Smear glaze jug with ornate metal handle, c.1800

October 25th, 2020

In March 2014, I was invited to give a talk at the English Ceramics Circle in London. Prior to my arrival, I had asked for members to bring in examples from their collections to look at and discuss. Following the talk I met a lovely woman, Field McIntyre, who brought in three of her treasures, each with vastly different types of repair. She is an extremely knowledgable dealer and collector and I learned a lot about each of her unique pieces. We kept in touch over the years and in January 2019, I received a parcel from London which contained the three pieces from her collection. I was gobsmacked by her extraordinary and generous gift and thrilled to add them to my collection. Thank you again, Field!

This small Dutch shape stoneware pottery jug with smear-glaze slip body was made in England, c.1795-1810. It is decorated with classical white relief sprig decoration showing “Poor Maria (and her dog)” on one side and “Charlotte weeping at the tomb of Werther” on the reverse. Under the spout is decoration showing 2 girls with a pail. Jug is unmarked and measures 2.5 inches high, 4 inches from handle to spout.

After the jug took a tumble and the handle broke off, well over 150 years ago, it was replaced by an unusual copper handle with beads down the center. Says Field “It is the type supplied by various manufacturers to J. Mist, repairer, of London.” I have never come across this type of replacement handle before and hope to find more examples to compare it to. Keep an eye on these pages for upcoming posts showing the other two make-do’s gifted to me from Field.

This jug with similar form and decoration suggests what the original handle on my jug might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Winterthur

Kangxi powder blue teapot, c.1700

October 18th, 2020

This porcelain barrel form teapot with powder blue glaze was made in China, c.1700. It is decorated with panels containing a flowering tree on one side and precious objects on the other side. It measures 4 inches high, 6.75 inches from handle to spout.

I love objects with multiple repairs and this beautiful teapot has many, including a metal replacement spout, a wood replacement knob, and 6 metal staples.

This teapot with almost identical form and decoration still has its original spout, and knob.

Photo courtesy of Rob Michiels Auctions

Delft floral plate, c.1700s

October 11th, 2020

I found this colorful tin glazed earthenware pottery plate at a shop in Amsterdam about 6 years ago. It was made in the Netherlands in the 1700s and has stylized floral decoration in polychrome enamels of green, orange, and blue on a white ground. It measures 9 inches in diameter.

After the plate broke, well over 200 years ago, it was repaired most likely by an itinerant repairer. Holes were drilled on either side of the crack and multiple strands of thin brass wire were looped through the holes. The remaining spaces were filled with plaster or a binder of some sort. This is a variation on staple/rivet repairs in which holes are drilled part way through and small metal clamps are secured to the broken pieces. I have found many repairs like these predominantly in Northern France, Brussels, and the Netherlands.

Similar plate with similar crack is in the permanent collection at the Detroit Institute of Art.

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts

Make-do’s in movies: The Trial of the Chicago 7

October 3rd, 2020

Last October I was working on The Trial of the Chicago 7, a historical drama written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. This important movie is about the true events surrounding peaceful protests which incited riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Sound familiar? Sadly, history repeats itself.

I like combining two of my interests by using antiques with inventive repairs as set dressing in my film work. On this project, I placed a jug with a metal replacement handle on the set of Attorney General and civil rights lawyer Ramsey Clark, played by Michael Keaton. Unlike some of the other more humble interiors I decorated for Black Panthers, hippies, yippies, and journalists, Clark’s study is wood paneled and filled with traditional American and English furnishings.

The light blue stoneware relief moulded ‘Stag’ jug was made by Stephen Hughes in England, c.1840-55. It stands 5.5 inches high and has an impressed “36” on underside. After the original handle broke off, a tinker made a sturdy metal replacement, which is attached to the original pewter lid.

I will continue to use make-do’s as set dressing in my film work so keep watching and try to spot them. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is currently playing at selected theaters and will be released on Netflix, October 16th. See you at the movies and don’t forget to vote!

This intact example still retains its original handle.

Photo courtesy of Worthpoint

Batavian teapot with silver coin terminals, c.1730

September 27th, 2020

This Batavian brown glazed globular form teapot with cobalt blue decoration was made in China during the middle of the Qianlong dynasty (1736-1795). Batavia ware, aka Capuchin ware or Cafe au lait, was highly favored by the Dutch and named for the city of Batavia (today Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia), the center of Dutch trade in the 18th century.

Teapot stands 5.25 inches high, 7.5 inches from handle to spout and has double repairs: a metal replacement handle wrapped in woven rattan and a silver replacement spout with engraved decoration. As if that wasn’t enough, two silver coins from the reign of King Charles (Carlos) of Spain (1661-1700) were used as handle terminals. Judging from the precious materials used on both repairs, it’s safe to assume that the original owner was well off.

This teapot, with similar form and decoration, shows what the original handle and spout on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of BidLive

EAPG “Loop” goblet with metal base, c.1865

September 20th, 2020

This EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) water goblet in the Loop pattern, was made in America, c.1860-1870. It stands 5 inches high with a 3 inch opening, and is made of lead glass.

A tinker made a metal replacement base, sometime in the late 1880s to early 1900s, after the original base broke off. Judging by the advanced rust, it must have been neglected for some time. It now sits on a shelf alongside other glass goblets with inventive repairs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they exchange war stories when I’m not around.

This goblet with the same Loop pattern still has its original base, but looks quite common next to my stalwart survivor.

Photo courtesy of the Early American Pattern Glass Society