Archive for October, 2013

English diptware jug, c.1800

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

I purchased this 7-3/4″ tall jug from a collector last February and it quickly became one of my favorites. The simple form, hot chocolate colored glaze, and impressive tin handle with strapping make it a visual delight. When I brought this jug to one of Don Carpentier’s workshops at Eastfield Village this summer, he marveled at it and said it was something special. So rather than try to describe it myself, here is what Don had to say:

“It is a baluster form English earthenware jug 1790-1810.  It is technically know as diptware because it was decorated with slip. The design at the rim inslip-inlaid checkered rouletting.  Made by impressing the design in the leather hard clay on the lathe with a roulette tool and then flooding the area with dark slip.  When the slip sets up to leather hard it is put back on the lathe and trimmed down flush with the surface of the body and the design is inlaid.”

The tinsmith who crafted the metal replacement handle did a fine job securing it to the jug, by means of straps running diagonally across the ovoid form. He also added a comfortable hand support, thumb rest and small curled flourish at the bottom. Sadly, some of the jug’s best features are covered by the tin handle, such as the intricate leaf terminals and almost half of the checkered rim. But without the added handle, the original owner would not be able to use the jug for its intended purpose and I would have nothing to write about today!

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This jug with similar form and rouletted black slip-filled herringbone mid-band, shows what the original loop handle on my jug may have looked like.


Photo courtesy of Prices4Antiques

Clobbered globular teapot, c.1750

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

This globular shaped porcelain teapot with straight spout, loop handle and domed cover was made in China for export to London in the mid-1700s, where it was decorated with branches and leaves in cobalt blue underglaze. It measures 4-3/4″ tall and 7-1/4″ from the end of the handle to the tip of the spout. But after living in London as blue and white teapot for nearly a century, it went through a colorful transformation.

Although blue and white decorated Chinese porcelain was in high demand up until the mid-1700s, it soon fell out of favor as more colorful porcelains started appearing on the market. In trying to keep up with the sudden demand, and while attempting to get rid of the less desirable blue and white pieces, clever European merchants struck gold. They simply painted over the existing blue and white decoration with an overglaze of additional colors. This practice, called clobbering, is also known as Amsterdams Bont when done in the Netherlands in the Imari style and palette. A translucent green wash covers most of the teapot’s surface, revealing traces of the original blue leaf decoration, now accentuated in gold. Additional stylized flowers, leaves and borders are painted in polychrome washes and heavy enamels with little regard to the pattern beneath the surface. Some artists paid more attention embellishing the original designs but on this piece you can see faint traces of the original blue peering through, like the shadow of a fish swimming in murky water. Many purists find the colorful additions gaudy and an abomination but I rather like them, seeing it as another form of making-do.

The silver spout with scalloped plate is a replacement, made in the same style and form as the porcelain original, mounted by a silversmith over 200 years ago.

I originally listed this as an example of “Amsterdams Bont”, clobbered in the Imari style in Amsterdam. I was informed by one of my subscribers, an expert and author in the field of clobbered ceramics, that my teapot was actually overpainted in London during the first quarter of the 19th century in colors better suited for the Regency / Brighton Pavilion taste. Thank you Helen Espir for the much appreciated information.







This is what my teapot may have looked like before the original spout was replaced and before it was overpainted in London, about 75 years later.

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Photo courtesy of eBay