Archive for September, 2012

Small copper lustre gravelware jug, c.1840

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

A tiny copper lustre jug, made in England in the mid-19th century, has an applied decorative gravel band at the bottom. It measures just 2-3/4″ tall.

In America, lustreware became popular in mid-19th century. During the Victorian period, a certain dinner party fad was to place lustreware pieces on a mirrored platform as a table centerpiece and watch the glow of gaslight sparkle and shimmer.

Over 100 years ago, a tinsmith made a sturdy replacement handle with two support straps after the original handle broke off. I particularly like the elegant loop the handle makes at the peak, avoiding the remaining broken fragment of the original.

This jug, with similar form and decoration, shows what the simple handle on my perfectly imperfect jug would have looked like before its disfiguring accident.

Photo courtesy of best military watch


Thai Buddha amulet, c.1920

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

This small pottery amulet has an image in relief of Somdej, a Buddhist monk and son to King Rama II, meditating on a coiled snake, and was found in a temple in Siam (Modern Thailand) in the first part of the 19th century. These are typically found snugly fitted into tiny metal frames, allowing the amulet to be worn by a worshiper. In this case, the metal frame broke off and the owner or a tinker came up with a fast and economical remedy by encasing the amulet in what looks like small scale chicken wire. Not the most attractive solution but I am sure the owner was most appreciative and happy just to be able to wear the amulet again.

Amulet measures nearly 2″ long.

Another amulet, with similar design and form, is housed in a more appropriate metal frame. This is a more standard method of encasing and was perhaps how my amulet looked early in its life.

Photo courtesy of eBay

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