Archive for November, 2013

“Cat Tails & Fern” pattern goblet, c.1880

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

This EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) goblet was made between 1880 and 1890 in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia by Richards & Hartley Flint Glass Co. EAPG, strictly an American invention, was manufactured throughout the US during the Victorian period, from 1850 to 1910. It is estimated that there are upward of 3,000 different patterns, although closer to 1,000 patterns were most commonly used. This goblet, in the Cat Tails & Fern pattern, measures 6″ high and has a visible 3-mold mark.

After the base snapped off, I am assuming sometime in the early 1900s, an itinerate mender or perhaps the original owner attached a 6-sided brass sleeve to hold the two broken pieces back together. This subtle yet effective quick-fix repair did the trick to make the drinking vessel function again. I like the addition of the tiny red gummed label on the bottom with a cryptic “9999” written in cursive ink, the meaning known only to the original scribe.

This goblet with the same pattern is one of 1,100 donated to the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont, by Dr. Elizabeth Garrison in 1987.

fern goblet

Outtakes from The New York Times

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Nearly 3 years ago Andrea Codrington Lippke wrote an article about me and my collection which appeared in The New York Times. The result of that amazing exposure was overwhelming and I still get emails from collectors and curators worldwide who read the article. I was thrilled to be on the cover of the Home & Garden section and ended up with a 1-1/2 page article with photos, as well as an online slideshow which included 10 more images. But a few photos never saw the light of day. Please take a look at this trio, which were shot for the article but ended up on the cutting room floor.

The assembled items for this monochromatic still life include a silver mounted Jackfield teapot, “Scottish Thistle” crystal cordialetched glass celery vase and silver resist lustre jug. The cluster of 3 objects on the right are metal chisels made from engine parts, “made-do’s” in their own right, which Mark found in a recycling shop in Mali.

These pieces all have sterling silver repairs, some with rare hallmarks. As most items with inventive repairs are unsigned, I yearn for anything showing a repairer’s mark. The helmet form cream jug, out of focus in the back, has a uniquely repaired handle made from a silver spoon. The sparrow beak jug in the center has a simple loop handle with silversmith’s hallmarks, and the Chinese Imari mug on the right has an exquisitely crafted replacement handle. Stay tuned for information on the cut crystal goblet at the far left, which I will post in the near future.

And this is the vintage medical cabinet where I keep some of my favorite pieces in my collection, on perpetual rotation. If you look carefully you will see early Micky Mouse collectibles and unusual miniatures mixed in.

Thanks again to Andrea Codrington Lippke and Ira Lippke for their beautiful writing and photography!

Photos courtesy of Ira Lippke for The New York Times.

Badly damaged Chinese teapot, c.1780

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

What a sad little teapot this is. Once pristine, this late 18th century Chinese porcelain globular-form teapot with Mandarin decoration in the Famille Rose palette has suffered years of abuse and neglect. It stands 5-1/4″ high and is 7-1/2″ wide from the tip of the spout to the end of the handle. I am told the hand painted decoration shows the Qianlong King making a secret visit to the river bank. Not only did the original porcelain loop handle fall off after the teapot slipped from the hands of whoever was serving tea or tidying up, but the body cracked and is chipped in numerous places. Regardless, the teapot must have been highly valued, as it was brought to a china restorer who created a rattan-wrapped metal replacement handle sometime in the 1800s. The lid did not fare well either, as after it shattered into 6 pieces at a later date, it was hastily glued back together, leaving many large gaps. But at last it ended up in my collection where it proudly stands alongside hundreds of other wounded survivors living together in solidarity.

This teapot, with similar form and decoration, shows what the original handle on mine would have looked like.


Photo courtesy of William Word Fine Antiques

King George VI & Queen Elizabeth loving cup, c.1937

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

This colorful porcelain loving cup was made by the Paragon China Company in Stoke-on-Trent, England, in 1937 to commemorate the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The figural lion handles and pastel colors give it a distinctive Art Deco look. At first glance the cup appears to be in tip-top condition, but upon closer inspection you can see all is not perfect for the royal couple. I imagine that after a robust toasting to the King and Queen, the loving cup clanked against a large stoneware tankard and broke in half. Surprisingly, it was not glued back together but brought to a china repairer who applied metal staples to make it whole again. With the invention of new types of glues and cements, developed for use during World War II, civilians were doing their own repairs at home, so by the mid-20th century, traditional staple repairs were becoming obsolete.

It seems that the china repairer or the owner of the cup couldn’t leave well enough alone and tried to mask the repair by painting over the staples. They did a decent job, however, matching the colors of the mug as they painstakingly matched each brushstroke of the pattern beneath.

The broken cup has been restored…long live the King! Long live the Queen! Long live the Art of Inventive Repair!

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