Chinese teapot with puce flowers and metal handle, c.1760

November 21st, 2021

This globular teapot with puce floral enamel decoration and orange bands was made in China in the middle to late 1700s. It measures 5.5 inches high, 7.5 inches from handle to spout. At some point in its early life, the handle broke off and a bronze replacement, with the remains of rattan wrapping, was attached. Most teapots I find have one form or another of metal handle protection to help insulate delicate hands from the hot contents. Many examples in my collection have intricately woven patterns using more than one color of rattan, and I imagine the customer would have been charged more for these finer artistic flourishes.

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

Photo courtesy of Hampshire Cultural Trust

Small blown cordial glass on metal base, c.1800s

November 7th, 2021

This small colorless free-form blown cordial glass goblet measures 4.5 inches high and was most likely made in America or England in the early to middle 19th century.

After the base broke off, a sweet replacement base was fashioned and attached to the remains of the knob stem. I applaud the tinker who made this simple yet elegant repair on such a small goblet.

This similar cordial glass suggests what my goblet would have looked like before it was fitted with its replacement base.

Photo courtesy of iCollector

Chelsea porcelain red anchor mug, c.1755

October 31st, 2021

This bell-shaped Chelsea porcelain mug was made in England between 1752 and 1756. The superbly painted polychrome floral decoration was no doubt inspired by similar examples made by Meissen. A red anchor mark can be found on the underside.

At one point in the mugs early life, the original loop handle broke off and a metal replacement was attached. The simplicity and delicacy of the new handle, as well as the rich bronze color, make this mug even more appealing to me than if the original handle was still intact.

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

Photos courtesy of Scottish Antiques

Treasure hunting in Providence, RI

October 10th, 2021

One of the first things I do with my free time when working on a project out of town is to check out the local museums. I think of it as a treasure hunt and have been successful in spotting ceramics and glassware with inventive repairs in most of the museums and historic houses I have visited throughout the world. Not surprisingly, I found a few nice examples at RISD Museum, a 10 minute walk from the house I am staying in.

Check out these fine examples of early repairs hiding in plain sight. The next time you visit a museum, make your own treasure hunt and try to find staples, replace spouts, and other make-do repairs.

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