Archive for July, 2018

Miniature Westerwald stoneware jug with silver handle, c.1750

Sunday, July 29th, 2018

This tiny hand-thrown, salt glazed, baluster form stoneware jug with cobalt decoration was a mystery to me when I purchased it two years ago. I found it in Hawaii, of all places, and the dealer knew nothing about it. The unusual silver replacement handle with a hand hammered band, and what appears to be a coiled snake at the base, threw me off. These details gave off a 70s vibe – more 1970s than 1770s. After a bit of research I discovered I had a miniature Westerwald jug, made in Germany around 1750 and possibly earlier. It stands just 3.5 inches high.

Not all miniatures were made for children to play with. Some were made by potters as souvenirs, while others were made possibly as salesmen samples. As with most pieces from my collection, we will never know how the original handle broke off. But it appears that the original owner must have truly treasured this tiny tank, as it was brought to a silversmith who fashioned a splendid silver replacement handle. Thank you to the unknown artist who transformed a broken jug into a unique conversation piece that has lasted over 250 years…and counting.

This miniature jug, with similar form and decoration, shows what the original handle on my jug might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of ebay

Mocha ware mug with marbled and combed slip, c.1780

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

This wonderfully graphic mug was made in England in the late 1700s. It is decorated with marbled and combed slip in shades of brown, tan, and cream, reminiscent of French marbled paper. It stands 5 inches high and has an opening diameter of 3.25 inches. The metal replacement handle, most likely made by an itinerant metalsmith in the 19th century, has developed a warm patina over the past 150+ years, which compliments the decoration nicely.

I purchased this mug at auction, along with a few other pieces, which were originally in the collection of Jonathan Rickard, renowned mocha ware expert and author of Mocha and Related Dipped Wares, 1770-1939. He says of this mug “The marbled & combed mug came from a British dealer and it originated around 1775-1782 based on wastes from the William Greatbatch excavation.” Thank you Jonathan for your devotion, thorough research, and love of all things mocha.

This mug, with similar form and decoration, suggest what the original handle on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Skinner

Chinese teapot with monogram & multiple repairs, c.1780

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

This globular porcelain teapot was made in China for export, possibly for the French market, during the last quarter of the Qianlong period (1711-1799.) It measures nearly 5.5 inches high and is 8.75 inches wide from handle to spout. The delicate armorial decoration on each side consists of a gilt monogram (JEM) suspended from a shield surrounded by floral garlands and ribbons. The chipped lid has a peach shaped knob and is decorated with flowers.

It appears that on more than one occasion over the past 200+ years, this fragile teapot was rushed to surgery. The multiple repairs include a silver plated replacement spout with scalloped backplate, an iron replacement handle with a pleasing green patina, and 2 metal staples securing cracks on the body. Every surface of this noble survivor bears scars, which to me, makes it even more attractive and unique.