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

Small mug with Imari decoration, c.1730

September 13th, 2020

This small but sturdy porcelain bell (aka baluster) form mug is decorated with flowers in the Imari palette of red, blue, and gilt on a white ground. It was made in China for export, most likely to Europe and North America, around 1730. It stands 4 inches high.

Sometime in the 18th/19th century, this mug took a tumble, resulting in a broken handle. Rather than tossing it out, it was taken to a tinker who fashioned a bronze replacement handle. Most often metal handles on teapots, cups, and mugs were wrapped with rattan for insulation and comfort but this handle remains bare.

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

Photo courtesy of Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood

Happy Labor Day, 2020!

September 6th, 2020

Thank you to all of the unnamed itinerant china & dish menders, tinkers, and repairers of all things broken throughout the world.

Antik & Auktion Magazine

August 30th, 2020

Last year I received a request from antiques dealer and writer Carl-Henric Malmgren to provide photos from my collection for an article he was writing about inventive repairs for the Swedish magazine Antik & Auktion. After a delay of many months and one pandemic later, the article was published in the May 2020 issue. Here it is in all its glory, with Swedish text and loaded with wonderful photos from collections from around the world. I am hoping to get a transition of the text and if/when that happens I will post it here.

Staffordshire sugar bowl, c.1860

August 23rd, 2020

This soft paste pottery footed sugar bowl was made in Staffordshire, England in the mid 1800s. It is decorated with polychrome hand painted flowers & leaves and measures 5.5 inches high, 7.75 inches wide. On the underside is an incised “2” and what appears to be a green hand painted number.

At some point during the early life of this pretty sugar bowl the lid slipped from someone’s fingers and the knob broke off. Rather than toss out a perfectly good bowl, a repurposed brass ring was attached to the lid, held into place with lead. Quite an unusual repair, as tiny rings such as this were used as small box or drawer pulls, and for picture hanging. This is the first time I have seen this type of repair and am pleased that over 100 years ago, someone saved a family heirloom by using a household object and a little bit of ingenuity.

This sugar bowl with similar form suggests what the original knob on mine might have looked like

Photo courtesy of The Townhouse Antiques