Archive for December, 2010

Nanking teapot, c.1800

Friday, December 31st, 2010

A Chinese porcelain teapot with hand painted cobalt blue Nanking underglaze decoration dates from 1790 to 1820. This type of design, produced in China since the mid-17th century, was so popular that it was first copied in 1780 by the English potter Thomas Turner of Caughley and was mass produced as the “Willow Pattern” (aka “Blue Willow”) with transfer decoration and sold worldwide

Today it is considered “America’s favorite patterned ware” and can be found in the wealthiest homes and roadside diners alike

Teapot measures 4-3/4″ tall and is nearly 10″ wide, from tip of the spout to the end of the replacement handle

A tinsmith came to the aid of the distraught original owner of the broken teapot and created an elaborate replacement handle. The metal handle has crimped edges, a thumb rest, hand grip and a tin truss encompassing the teapot for extra support

The same cobalt blue pagoda pattern is on both sides of the teapot

All that remains of the broken lapped reeded handle are the leaf terminals

This teapot with similar form and decoration shows what my teapot would have looked like with its original lid and handle intact

Photo courtesy of Equinox Antiques

Toys for the holidays

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Well, the votes are in and the absolute favorite item featured in The New York Times article from last week was the Cold painted cast lead dog figure, c.1930. I received numerous comments and emails on this piece, including “The dog is my favorite, it is almost impossibly poignant”, “I especially liked the little dog with the ‘prosthetic’ leg” and “That little dog you have is so much better than any mint-in-the-box action figure or something like that”.

With that in mind and with this being the holiday season, I am including some other toys with inventive repairs that I hope you will enjoy seeing again. Please click on the title to see the original post with information and additional photos.

Cast iron horse drawn ladder wagon, c.1900

German doll head pen wiper, c.1900

Toy cast iron cannon, c.1880

Googly doll door stop, c.1930

Staffordshire child’s mug, c.1840

Happy Holidays and I look forward to sharing more examples from my collection with you in 2011!

The New York Times, December 16, 2010

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Second-class citizens no more, “inventive repairs” have been acknowledged in an extensive article in The New York Times. The Fix Is In: Finding Beauty Beyond Repair appeared on the front page of yesterday’s Home section, featuring photos of me and my collection. Andrea Codrington Lippke wrote the wonderful article and Ira Lippke took the beautiful photographs, 11 of which are included in the online slide show.

The response has been overwhelming and I appreciate the over 100 emails and phone calls I received, as well as the many new subscribers to this blog.

Article photos by Ira Lippke for The New York Times

Click here to see the ultimate lighted makeup mirror reviews.

My top 10 favorites

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

I am often asked which are my favorite examples of antiques with inventive repair and my reply is…all of them! But if I absolutely had to narrow down the list to my top 10 favorites, I would include those pictured below. Please know that this list is purely subjective and includes items that simply make me smile whenever I see them. These have all been previously posted so you can read more about each piece in the original post by clicking on the title above each photo.

So here they are, from 10 to 1…

Number 10: Victoria and Albert jug, c.1840

Number 9: Primitive wooden shovel, c.1870

Number 8: Large Chinese Mandarin mug, c.1780

Number 7: Stick spatter peafowl teapot, c.1810

Number 6: “Scottish Thistle” crystal cordial, c.1920

Number 5: French Delft ewer, c.1690

Number 4: Anglo-Indian brass candlestick, c.1875

Number 3: Chinese export miniature vases, c.1690

Number 2: Cold painted cast lead dog figure, c.1930

And my number 1 top favorite is: Eastern European teapot, c.1925

Emergency Handle for Domestic Receptacles, c.1922

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

I purchased this innocuous cup with “Pekin” transfer decoration in April 2008 and was intrigued by the removable metal handle, an apparent “do it yourself” replacement. Unlike most examples found in my collection, this was obviously not a handmade repair.

Due to heavy rust, the handle appeared to be unmarked and I was unable to proceed with executing any further research.

When I originally added the cup entry to this site in March 2010, I surmised that the handle “looks like something found at a local hardware store”.

Then in April of this year, two years after the discovery of the mysterious replacement handle, I purchased a copper lustre child’s mug with an identical metal handle, which I posted on July 6, 2010.

Luckily this handle was in excellent condition and clearly boasted a patent number.

Reino Liefkes, Senior Curator of the Ceramics & Glass Collection at the V&A Museum in London, recently discovered my blog and sent me the original patent specification and drawing for the “Emergency Handle For Domestic Receptacles”, patented in 1922 by inventor Frederick Warren Wilkes of Birmingham, UK. Upon further research, I found the American patent specification and drawing from 1923, pictured here.

Originally, a tiny rubber band was attached to the lower end of the handle to help cushion it against the delicate ceramic surface

Many thanks to Reino Liefkes for his most appreciated sleuthing!

Etched glass champagne jug, c.1880

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

English blown glass champagne jug with intricately etched decoration made for the American market, with applied handle and cut glass base. Once this fragile jug was dropped, it was destined to live out the rest of its life on a shelf, for display purposes only

Small iron staples were carefully attached to both sides of the pig’s tail shaped crack to stabilize the break

Ewer stands 11-1/4″ tall

A skillful engraver etched the design of a lion attacking a bird of prey, possibly a coat of arms for a distinguished family

The other side of the ewer reveals a more conventional foliage pattern