Archive for the ‘sauce boat’ Category

Child’s pearlware sauce boat, c.1790

Sunday, June 19th, 2022

It’s been a busy spring but I’m back!

This child’s pearlware pottery sauce boat with pedestal foot was made in England in the late 1700s. It has cobalt blue hand-decoration in the Pagoda with Fence (aka Chinese House) pattern and measures 2.5 inches high, 4.25 inches wide from handle to spout. The metal replacement handle and support straps were most likely added by a tinker, well over 150 years ago, to replace a broken handle.

It is not unusual to find children’s pieces with early repairs, as you can imagine how many tiny hands have dropped their prized pottery playthings. Actually, it’s amazing how many fragile ceramic toys have survived intact. I have dozens of examples of miniatures in my collection and I would be happy just collecting these small examples of inventive repairs.

This example suggests what the original handle on my miniature sauce boat might have looked like before the handle broke off.

Photo courtesy of The Hoarde

Chinese porcelain sauce boat, c.1760

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

This elongated Baroque serpentine form silver shape sauce boat was made in China during the Qianlong period (1736-1796). It is made of porcelain and decorated in the Famille Rose palette, with hand painted flowers, ducks, and garden stools in pink, green, blue, and white enamels with gilt highlights. It measures 9-3/4 inches long by 3-5/8 inches high.

Well over 150 years ago when the original simple loop handle snapped off, a “china mender” fashioned a replacement handle, which was riveted to the body. To help insulate the metal from the hot contents, rattan was wrapped and woven around the handle. This would have been one of a pair of matching sauce boats and was a part of a large dinner service. I wonder if it was separated from its mate and other “perfect” serving pieces, as was often the case.







The original handle on this sauce boat, with identical form and similar decoration, gives you an idea of what the handle on my sauce boat would have looked like.


Photo courtesy of Online Galleries

Pair of armorial sauce boats, c.1790

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

As collectors, we all have stories of “the one that got away” and for me it happened in June 1991, on the very first day I started collecting antiques with inventive repairs. Having landed in London the night before and still jet lagged, I stumbled down Portobello Road and wandered into a crowded stall selling porcelains. I spotted a pair of Chinese Export sauce boats each with a replaced metal loop handle. Pleading with the dealer to sell me just one, which I could barely afford, she broke up the pair and I happily walked away with what would be the start of my collection. Even then, I immediately regretted not being able to afford its mate, but I was pleased to at least own the one. To this day, I keep hoping I will come across the orphan I left behind and be able to reunite the two. So, if anyone can help me locate the long lost twin, I will be forever grateful and you will be rewarded for your excellent sleuthing!

The lone survivor of my maddening “Sophie’s Choice” moment


You can imagine how happy I was to have been recently contacted by dealer Polly Latham of Boston, MA, offering me a pair of Chinese Export sauce boats, each with identical replacement handles and decorated with an armorial coat of arms, no less. This pair, a part of a larger dinner service, was made for export to the English market at the end of the 18th century and bear the Arms of Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale (1759-1839). Maitland, a noted statesman, politician and controversial social and political critic of his time, criticized the clergy, condemned slavery and was an ardent supporter of the French Revolution. The motto under the coat-of-arms, intricately painted in polychrome enamels with gilt highlights, translates to “Wisdom and Courage”. Each measures 2 inches high and 7.75 inches long.

I am pleased to proclaim that as long as I am the caretaker of this fine pair, they shall remain unseparated. You can click here if you want more info.

IMG_6819 - Version 2




The replaced handles are made of forged brass, covered in woven rattan, and pinned to the end of the sauce boats with two metal rivets. The rattan covering is not only decorative but also used to insulate the metal handle from the hot contents.





Take a look at the rest of the large dinner service, all bearing the arms of Maitland, including a pair of identical sauce boats with original handles intact, located in the center of the middle shelf.


Photo courtesy of Polly Latham Antiques

Nanking sauceboat with multiple repairs, c.1750

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

I have often expressed that I am a sucker for pieces containing more than one form of early repair and this little beauty does not disappoint, as it sports three separate repairs and a signature to boot. Chinese porcelain sauceboat, made for export in the mid-1700s, was originally part of a large dinner set consisting of up to dozens of place settings and serving pieces, including a matching pair of sauceboats. Painted with cobalt blue underglaze in the Nanking pattern, it measures 7-3/4″ long from end to end and is 4-1/4″ deep.

Repair #1: Metal replacement handle, which may have once been covered in woven reed, was riveted to the end of the sauceboat, echoing the loop form of the original.

Repair #2: After the sauceboat was dropped a second time, an eighteenth century china mender carefully applied six 1/2″ staples to adhere the two large broken pieces near the spout.

Repair #3: Three tiny 1/4″ metal staples affix another large piece which broke off at the end of the sauceboat. They were overpainted in blue to match the decoration and over one hundred years later have held up quite well.

Etched on the bottom is “Cove 835”, which I am assuming is the mark of the china mender or tinker who was responsible for one or more of the repairs. I have not been able to find out any information on this cryptic signature but will continue to search and I welcome information anyone can provide.

This porcelain sauce boat from the same period shows what the simple loop handle on my piece would have looked like, before the addition of the metal replacement handle.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

Sauceboat with remarkable silver handle, c.1750

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

This large porcelain sauceboat was made and decorated in China and dates from the Qianlong period (1736-1795). Sauceboats (aka gravy boats) were part of larger dinner services, exported to North America and Europe and snatched up by wealthy customers eager to display in their china cabinets.

A skillful hand decorated the gravy boat with polychrome enamel flowers and an iron red border with gilt detailing.

Even the interior is painted with peony flowers and a blue zig zag fence, visible once the last bit of gravy has been consumed.

The broken handle has been replaced with an ingenious solid silver removable replacement, held together with screws and hinges. The craftsmanship is superb and unlike any other I have seen.

Only the wealthy would have able to afford this type of intricate repair, which keeps the body intact and without the intrusion of piercing rivets and bolts.

Sauceboat measures 4-1/2″ high and is 9-1/2″ long.

This shows what the simple loop handle on my similarly shaped sauceboat may have looked like before it broke off.

Photo courtesy of Guest & Gray

Chinese export sauce boat, c.1780

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

I found this porcelain sauce boat nearly 20 years ago during my first “official” search for antiques with creative repairs in London, June 1991. Actually, this was one of a pair of matching sauce boats with identical replaced handles. Knowing I did not have enough money to purchase both pieces, the dealer split up the set and sold me just one. A lovely gesture that I appreciated at the time, but now I am sorry that someone lost out on the opportunity of owning the pair

This was one of four antiques with inventive repairs I found during that memorable trip. You can check out the other three pieces, which I have already posted: English copper lustre jug, Globular Chinese export teapot and Chinese “clobbered” saucer

The inside is painted in a famille rose underglaze floral design, and it measures 8″ from bow to stern, and is 2-3/4″ high. The sturdy replacement handle is made of forged iron

This example still has its original applied porcelain handle

Photo courtesy of Andrew Dando

“Quadrupeds” sauce boat, c.1820

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

This wonderfully graphic pearlware pottery sauce boat was made by I. Hall in Staffordshire, England in the early 1800’s. It has a dark cobalt blue transfer decoration in the “Quadrupeds” pattern featuring a fantastic fox on both sides.

The replaced hollow pewter handle has been cleverly painted to match the decoration.

Sauce boat from the early 1800’s measures 3-7/8″ high, 7-1/2″ long.

Sauce boat is boldly stamped in cobalt on the bottom I HALL, QUADRUPEDS.

Another blue & white transferware sauce boat with its original handle.

Photo courtesy of Richard G. Marden & Daughter

Chinese armorial sauce boat, c.1780

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

This Chinese porcelain sauce boat was made for export to the American market and has a distinctive Fitzhugh pattern outer rim border, and measures 7.5 inches wide, 2.75 inches high.

It bears an armorial polychrome enamel eagle/dragon, custom ordered by a family of wealth.

The replaced gilt metal handle is beautifully woven with two different colors of rattan.

A similar sauce boat shown with original handle and hard to find matching undertray

Photo courtesy of Starr Antiques