Chinese teapot with metal spout, c.1770

January 10th, 2021

This globular form porcelain teapot was made in China during the Qianlong Period (1736-1795.) It has floral decoration in the Famille Rose palette and measures 6 inches high, 8.75 inches wide from handle to spout.

Long ago, someone let this fragile teapot slip from their grasp, resulting in a broken spout and lid. A metalsmith brought it back to life by attaching a sturdy iron replacement spout, which allowed tea to flow once more. A lid with similar form and decoration from another (broken?) teapot was added to complete the restoration/transformation. Later in the troubled pot’s history, a few chips along the rim were painted over in gold. Rather than helping to soften the blow, the gilding actually accents the imperfections, in the same way that kintsugi celebrates cracks and repairs.

This one…

Photo courtesy of A & M

A toast to the New Year, 2021!

January 3rd, 2021

I imagine this is how many of my drinking glasses ended up with early repairs. Let’s raise a glass and welcome the New Year, and hope it’s better than the last one.

All the best to you in 2021 and please drink responsibly!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

December 25th, 2020

All the best to you during the holidays and beyond.

Cut ruby glass cordial with silver stem, c.1920

December 13th, 2020

I believe this cut ruby glass cordial wine glass was made in Germany or Bohemia in the 1920s. It was most likely part of a larger set consisting of 6 or more glasses – possibly each a different color – along with a matching decanter.

As most antique glass stemware is fragile, many were broken and ultimately tossed out. Luckily, this one was spared the trash bin and brought back to life with the addition of a silver sleeve. Thank you to the unknown tinker or silversmith who conjoined the broken pieces with their skill and ingenuity, allowing this glass to function again.

This sturdy set with a similar cut pattern appears to be without damage.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

Mandarin mug with metal handle, c.1760

December 6th, 2020

This porcelain bell-shaped footed mug with Mandarin decoration stands 6 inches high. It was made in China during the Qianlong period for export overseas. The polychrome and gilt Famille Rose decoration depicts 2 figures in a garden – one with a pole and basket and the other holding a plate of fruit, as well as garlands of flowers, trees and rocks.

Long ago, after the original handle broke off, a tinker or an itinerant repairer fashioned a bronze replacement. There are 2 patches of woven rattan, which suggests the the entire handle was originally covered in rattan.

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

Photo courtesy of Catherine Hunt Antiques

Antique wood REPAIRING sign, c.1900

November 29th, 2020

I purchased this sign over the summer and finally got around to hanging it above one of my display cabinets this weekend. Not sure what type of repairing it advertised, but I’d like to think it was for all types of inventive repairs. It measures approximately 39 inches wide and is made from wood. The applied letters, once painted a bright gold, have mellowed with age. The arrow, which hangs from chains, is a make-do itself, as the bottom half of the point broke off and was replaced.

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