Archive for April, 2010

6 matching “Log Cabin” plates, c.1790

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Every one of these six matching broken Chinese export porcelain plates is held together with large brass staples, visible only from the back. I imagine the complete set of dishes was much larger than the six repaired examples I own, but I am thankful someone weeded out the “perfect” ones and left me with the more interesting much preferred damaged goods!

Out of all of the different types of inventive repairs I have shown thus far, people seem to be the most fascinated with staple & rivet repairs. I will be showing rare illustrations and photos documenting this repair procedure in upcoming posts, so please stay tuned.

Plate 1, The champion with 14 staple repairs.

Plate 2, another winner and tied for first place with 14 staples.

Plate 3, repaired with an impressive 9 staples.

Plate 4, not too shabby with 8 staples.

Plate 5, another plate with 8 staple repairs.

Plate 6, still lovely with an impressive 6 staples.

This detail shows the rich cobalt blue under glaze “log cabin” or timber frame decoration, inspired by an English design by Spode. This pattern is also known as “trench mortar”.

Each plate measures 9-1/2″ in diameter.

Bone china cup with saucer, c.1850

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Although found together, this Victorian bone china teacup has nothing at all to do with the Imari patterned saucer, as they were “married” sometime after the saucer went missing. The only mark on the teacup is “2/1247”, hand painted in red on the bottom. The undamaged saucer is marked “Pointons England” on the bottom and dates from 1891. I would have been thrilled had the saucer also been a recipient of an inventive repair!

I do love the simple yet effective replaced handle on the cup, made from a bent iron rod

The ends of the iron rod protrude through carefully drilled holes on the inside of the cup

Teacup measures 2-1/4″ high, 3-5/8″ in diameter and the saucer measures 5-1/2″ in diameter

Tea Time magazine

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The current issue of Tea Time magazine (May/June 2010) contains an article featuring teapots with inventive repairs from my collection, written by author and tea expert Elizabeth Knight.

Tea Time creative director and photographer Mac Jamieson flew up from Alabama to shoot this story in my NYC apartment. He and editor Lorna Reeves were a pleasure to work with and both exuded southern charm!

Chinese clobbered teapot, c.1780

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I am a big fan of clobbered (over-decorated) porcelains and this piece does not disappoint. A Chinese export porcelain teapot, measuring 5-1/4″ high, originally with blue underglaze Nanking decoration fell out of fashion shortly after it was made. In order to keep up with the sudden demand for polychrome Chinese ceramics, factories took the unwanted pieces with blue decoration and overpainted with brightly colored enamels, often without regard for the original design

And if that wasn’t enough, when the handle broke off it was repaired using metal staples and wrapped with lead. The result is less than attractive but the sturdy repair makes the teapot once again serviceable

This teapot escaped the hand of a painter with polychrome enamels and retains its original blue decoration

Photo courtesy of Equinox Antiques

Child’s cream jug, c.1840

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

This small pottery creamer from a child’s tea service is 3 inches tall and has green transfer decoration depicting a woman with a basket of flowers and a castle in the distance.

This close up shows the pointillist transfer decal decoration in “high definition”.

A crudely made copper armature was attached as the base structure for a replacement handle. Many layers of gesso and enamel matching the original colors were applied over this, but have since fallen away.

Another jug with similar form and decoration suggests what the handle on my little jug may have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of eBay

Kangxi period dish, c.1700

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

A ribbed surface Chinese porcelain dish with the “Hundred Antiques” pattern is decorated in a famille verte palette, depicting culturally significant items of the period including vases, textiles and utensils.

After the dish broke and was repaired with metal staples, it was placed in an elaborate circa 1750 bronze rococo mount with cherubs.

10 metal staples were used to hold this dish back together again.

The dish alone is 6″ in diameter and measures 9-3/4″ long including the added bronze mount.

An unusual detail is a porcelain fragment from another broken object, added to the top portion of the mount.

If anyone has information on this mark, please let me know.

Glass oil lamp, c.1870

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

This American pressed glass oil lamp with tri-mold marks measures 7-1/2″ high and has a classic gadrooned body design. It is not uncommon to find glass oil lamps with replacement bases, as these were handled often over the course of each day and accidents did happen. Please check out my other oil lamps to see replacement bases created in various styles and made from an array of materials

A wood replacement base with silver gilt surface was probably made in the 1920’s-30’s, as is evident from its “art deco” look

The oil lamp below with a similar shape still has its original glass base, a lucky survivor of over 100 years of use

Photo courtesy of Antique Mystique

Large stoneware crock, c.1890

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

When I found this large and very heavy American stoneware pottery wine jug in Maine, I was unable to pack it properly and take it with me on my flight back home later that day. Luckily, one of the friends I was visiting was a pilot and simply brought it on board his flight to New York the next day. The triangular remains of the broken clay handle leaves a distinctive maker’s mark

It would have been awkward to lift this 18-1/2″ tall jug with the absence of its handle, especially when full of wine. Rather than trying to replace the broken handle, a sturdy iron band with swing handle was attached to the jug

A close up of the iron strap and handle shows the work of the local ironsmith who made this East coast jug more functional

The small hole at the bottom is where a wooden spigot would have been inserted to dispense the wine

A similar jug shows what the applied handle would have looked like

Photo courtesy of Prock’s Crocks

Silver resist lustre jug, c.1820

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

This soft paste pottery “Dutch” shape jug is decorated in a stylized grape leaf pattern using a silver resist method of decoration. This type of decoration is achieved by painting the design with a resist substance such as thinned honey, applying the silver glaze over the entire jug, washing off the resist to reveal the unglazed decoration and firing to set the silver lustre background

Silver lustre, or “poor man’s silver” was first introduced in the 18th century by John Hancock for Spode. It remained popular throughout the 19th century, until the invention of electro plating brought silver plated items in to the masses in 1838. This jug measures 4-3/4″ tall

Tin was used to fashion a replacement handle and strap, most likely by an itinerant tinsmith or china mender

Another silver resist lustre jug shown with its original handle with the same silhouette as the replacement

Photo courtesy of John Howard

“Liverpool Birds” tea cups, c.1775

Monday, April 19th, 2010

This pair of lightweight creamware tea cups, each measuring 2-5/8″ tall, has orange transfer decoration with the “Liverpool Birds” pattern

These were most likely made in Wedgwood, England

When the handle of the cup on the right broke in three places, metal cleats were attached on either side of the cracks and painted to mask the repair

The cup on the left has metal staples holding the cracks stable and were also painted to match the body of the cup