Archive for January, 2011

The New York Ceramics Fair

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

This past weekend I attended the annual New York Ceramics Fair, held for the first time in the ballroom of the Bohemian National Hall, a beautiful Renaissance Revival style building from 1895, gorgeously renovated in 2008 with a striking modern interior.

I enjoyed seeing dealers I had met during past visits to the UK, as well as making new acquaintances with other knowledgeable and friendly vendors. Most were curious about my “unusual” interest in repaired ceramics & glassware but were happy to share their thoughts and insight with me. Although, I was a bit taken a back by an American dealer who was less than friendly when asked if she had any pieces with early repairs. It seems I unintentionally offended her by implying that she might be selling less than perfect goods, which I certainly was not.

John Howard brought a magnificent and rare model of Wellington on his horse Copenhagen. Towering at over 19″ high, this is probably the largest pottery figure made of Wellington from the Staffordshire potters just after the Battle of Waterloo, c.1815.

There are old tinker repairs to the legs which were made some 150 years ago.

An actual horse with broken legs would certainly have been sent to the glue factory. And perhaps the glue would have been used to mend broken pottery pieces.

Simon Westman, a dealer from Grays in London, brought with him two different ceramic items with inventive repairs.

A small pearlware jug decorated in Pratt colors with a tin replacement handle from Staffordshire, c.1800. This jug and repair is similar to my own “Sailor’s Farewell & Return” jug, also with a chipped spout in the same location.

Remains of the broken handle extend over the top of the replaced metal handle.

This saltglazed stoneware teapot with wonderful enamelled decoration was made in Staffordshire, c.1760.

The replacement lid is from a teapot of the same material and period, with an added metal flange to make for a tighter fit.

An unusual blown glass roemer from the Netherlands, dated 1662, was shown by Christopher Sheppard, also from London.

A 19th century pewter base replaces the original ribbed foot, which would have been built up out of glass threads.

This is what the original glass base might have looked like.

An English redware teapot c.1695, courtesy of Garry Atkins, has two inventive repairs.

A silver replacement spout with scalloped decoration stands in place of the long lost redware original.

The broken handle has been replaced with a rattan-covered bronze handle, well over 150 years ago.

Child’s transferware cream jug, c.1840

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

This diminutive cream colored pearlware pottery cream jug was part of a larger child’s tea set and was made in England in the first part of the nineteenth century.

It is decorated with a bat printed black transfer pastoral scene, which may have been inspired by an engraving from the same period.

Cream jug measures 2-3/4″ high.

The other side is decorated with a church scene with what appears to be fallen tombstones.

The crudely made metal replacement handle has crimped edges and a flat strap at the top, with a wrapped wire band at the base.

Another early child’s creamer from the early 1800’s is shown with its handle intact.

Photo courtesy of WorthPoint

“The China-Mender” by Thomas Hood, c.1832

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

This amusing poem, written by British poet and humorist Thomas Hood, Esq. (1799-1845), first appeared at in The Royal Lady’s Magazine (their motto: “Our ambition is to raise the female mind of England to its true level”) London, January 1832.

Photo courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery, London


Good-Morning, Mr. What-d’ye-call! Well! here’s another pretty job!

Lord help my Lady!—what a smash!—if you had only heard her sob!

It was all through Mr. Lambert: but for certain he was winey,

To think for to go to sit down on a table full of Chiney.

“Deuce take your stupid head!” says my Lady to his very face;

But politeness, you know, is nothing when there’s Chiney in the case;

And if ever a woman was fond of Chiney to a passion,

It’s my mistress, and all sorts of it, whether new or old fashion.

Her brother’s a sea-captain, and brings her home shiploads—

Such bronzes, and such dragons, and nasty squatting things like toads;

And great nidnoddin’ mandarins, with palsies in the head:

I declare I’ve often dreamt of them, and had nightmares in my bed.

But the frightfuller they are—lawk! she loves them all the better,

She’d have Old Nick himself made of Chiney if they’d let her.

Lawk-a-mercy! break her Chiney, and it’s breaking her very heart;

If I touched it, she would very soon say, “Mary, we must part.”

To be sure she is unlucky: only Friday comes Master Randall,

And breaks a broken spout, and fresh chips a tea-cup handle:

He’s a dear, sweet little child, but he will so finger and touch,

And that’s why my Lady doesn’t take to children much.

Well, there’s stupid Mr. Lambert, with his two greatcoat flaps.

Must go and sit down on the Dresd’n shepherdesses’ laps,

As if there was no such things as rosewood chairs in the room!

I couldn’t have made a greater sweep with the handle of the broom.

Mercy on us! how my mistress began to rave and tear!

Well, after all, there’s nothing like good ironstone ware for wear.

If ever I marry, that’s flat, I’m sure it won’t be John Dockery—

I should be a wretched woman in a shop full of crockery.

I should never like to wipe it, though I love to be neat and tidy,

And afraid of meat on market-days every Monday and Friday

I’m very much mistook if Mr. Lambert’s will be a catch;

The breaking the Chiney will be the breaking-off of his own match.

Missis wouldn’t have an angel, if he was careless about Chiney;

She never forgives a chip, if it’s ever so small and tiny.

Lawk! I never saw a man in all my life in such a taking;

I could find it in my heart to pity him for all his mischief-making.

To see him stand a-hammering and stammering like a zany;

But what signifies apologies, if they won’t mend old Chaney!

If he sent her up whole crates full, from Wedgwood’s and Mr. Spode’s,

He couldn’t make amends for the crack’d mandarins and smash’d toads.

Well! every one has their tastes, but, for my part, my own self,

I’d rather have the figures on my poor dear grandmother’s old shelf

A nice pea-green poll-parrot, and two reapers with brown ears of corns,

And a shepherd with a crook after a lamb with two gilt horns,

And such a Jemmy Jessamy in top-boots and sky-blue vest,

And a frill and flower’d waistcoat, with a fine bow-pot at the breast.

God help her, poor old soul! I shall come into ’em at her death;

Though she’s a hearty woman for her years, except her shortness of breath.

Well! you may think the things will mend—if they won’t, Lord mend us all!

My lady will go in fits, and Mr. Lambert won’t need to call;

I’ll be bound in any money, if I had a guinea to give,

He won’t sit down again on Chiney the longest day he has to live.

Poor soul! I only hope it won’t forbid his banns of marriage;

Or he’d better have sat behind on the spikes of my Lady’s carriage.

But you’ll join ’em all of course, and stand poor Mr. Lambert’s friend,

I’ll look in twice a day, just to see, like, how they mend.

To be sure it is a sight that might draw tears from dogs and cats,

Here’s this pretty little pagoda, now, has lost four of its cocked hats.

Be particular with the pagoda: and then here’s this pretty bowl—

The Chinese Prince is making love to nothing because of this hole;

And here’s another Chinese man, with a face just like a doll,

Do stick his pigtail on again, and just mend his parasol.

But I needn’t tell you what to do, only do it out of hand,

And charge whatever you like to charge—my Lady won’t make a stand.

Well! good-morning, Mr. What-d’ye-call, for it’s time our gossip ended:

And you know the proverb, the less as is said, the sooner the Chiney’s mended.

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Richard Ginori “Broken” Dinnerware

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Today I visited the NYC showroom of porcelain manufacturer Richard Ginori, founded in Italy by Florentine Marquis Carlo Ginori in 1735, and home to hundreds of stunning, colorful patterns. But what I was most drawn to was a line of dinnerware ironically named “Broken”, the least colorful dishes in the showroom. This ingenious collection of 14 pieces was designed in 2010 by architect and product designer Paola Navone. Each of these stark white porcelain pieces features printed cracks “repaired” with trompe l’oeil metal staples. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a repaired “Broken” plate with actual metal staples? I guess that would be an example of life imitating art imitating life…

Dinner plate measures 10-1/2″ in diameter.

The trompe l’oeil staples and cracks look truly convincing even upon close inspection.

“Cracked” teacup, guaranteed not to leak, and matching saucer.

Soup plate, broken in three places, is held together with three staples. Or is it?

Sugar bowl and milk pot from the tea service.