Posts Tagged ‘brass’

Small sprigged jug with brass handle, c.1820

Sunday, May 26th, 2019

Good things come in small packages, as is evident by this small but mighty Dutch shape jug, which was made in England between 1815 and 1820. It stands 3.5 inches high, 4.25 inches wide from handle to spout and has a lavender ground with white sprigged decorations including gryphons, cupids, a figural Baccus head spout, a large urn, and a rim border of grape clusters and leaves. Possibly made by Ridgway Pottery but many other potters made this and similar designs.

Over 150 years ago, a clever metalsmith fashioned a simple brass replacement handle. Without compromising the jug by drilling through the side, this practical handle clips on to the broken ends of the jug, much like a crown repairs a broken tooth. While many types of metal are used to repair broken ceramics, polished brass is not one of the more common materials. I find that the warm golden tone adds a regal touch to this small but highly decorative jug.

This jug, identical to mine, shows what the original handle looked like.

Photo courtesy of eBay

Rose Medallion teapot with unusual wood handle, c.1840

Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

I purchased this porcelain drum form teapot a few years ago from a dealer who found it at a flea market in Brussels. It was made in China for export, most likely to North America or Europe, between 1830 and 1850. The classic Rose Medallion decoration includes 4 panels of people, birds, and flowers, painted in the famille rose palette of green, pink, blue, yellow, black, and gilt. It measures 5.5 inches high and 9.25 inches wide from handle to spout.

What makes this striking teapot stand out in a crowd are the unusual repairs. To replace the broken cross strapped handle, a hand carved wood replacement with removable brass straps was created, along with a papier mache replacement lid, cleverly incorporating the original pomegranate shaped knob and painted to match the broken original. Quite the curiosity piece, wouldn’t you say?! I have not seen repairs such as these before and can only wonder where this type of work was done. It does not appear to be North American, European, or Continental, so my feeling is that it was done in Asia or the Middle East. If anyone knows more about this type of repair, please let me know.

This similar teapot maintains its original handle and lid

Photo courtesy of WorthPoint

Brass kerosene oil lamp, c.1900

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

This small kerosene oil lamp has a brass reservoir joined to a square metal base using a hand carved wood conical stem. I found it in a small New England antiques shop a few years ago and although it is unmarked, I believe it to be American. It stands 8.75 inches tall and the base measures nearly 4 inches square.

Lamps such as this were commonly used worldwide, from the mid 1800s through the mid 1900s. They were sturdy and made to last so I am puzzled by what caused this one to become unhinged. The replacement stem appears to be a home made job, and although practical, it is less than elegant.

This brass oil lamp with similar form has all of its parts and shows what the original base on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

Brass candle holder with wood base, c.1880

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

I wonder how many fires were started as a result of broken candle holders. I have come across many examples with unusual replacement bases, including metal funnels, coconut shells, and blocks of wood. This is not surprising, as candleholders were handled everyday by various household members in every room of the house.

This candle holder was made in England in the late 1800s. It stands 7.5 inches high. Most likely it was one of a pair that might have been separated from its “perfect” mate. After the original brass base became detached from the stem, an overscaled wood replacement was fashioned. This well made base, complete with beveled edges and cut-line detailing along the top, measures 5 x 5 inches and appears to be a homemade make-do.

What ever happened to the matching candle holder without repair, you may ask? The story of The Prince and the Pauper comes to mind, so I imagine it has spent the past 130+ years in a castle, polished within an inch of its life, sitting prominently on a large sideboard and hobnobbing with other “perfect” things.

This pair of candlesticks suggests what the original octagonal base on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Selling Antiques

Glass trumpet vase, c.1900

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

I found this pretty Bohemian crimped-edge glass vase at a small antiques shop near my house in the Catskills a few summers ago. It is decorated with enamel and gilt flowers in the Art Nouveau style and measures 10 inches high and 6.5 inches in diameter at the base. It was made in Europe at the turn of the 19th century.

Although it has an unusual make-do base repurposed from a brass lamp, I hesitated at first as it didn’t call out to me as most antiques with inventive repairs do. But I ended up buying it and in the years since it has grown on me. The dealer I purchased it from had polished the replacement base within an inch of its life, buffing the brass to match the lustre of the gilding. Typically, I prefer my early repairs to have a dark, rich patina, but in this case I like the gold on gold coloring. It just seems right.

This vase of similar form suggests what the base on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of eBay

Nostetangen goblets with silver repairs

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

During a recent trip to Oslo, Norway, I discovered that the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design is packed with antiques with inventive repairs. I was particularly impressed by the abundance of intricately engraved 18th century German and Norwegian glassware, many with added silver mounts repairing snapped goblet stems and missing bases. Reflecting their rarity, many of these priceless presentational pieces were brought back to life by esteemed Norwegian jewelers and silversmiths in the 18th and 19th century. Here are some of my favorites:

Goblet (center) engraved by H. G. Kohler, artist and engraver at Nøstetangen Glassworks, on the occasion of the anointing of King Christian VII, 1767. The crimped silver joint was added later to repair the broken stem.

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Goblet, Nøstetangen, ca. 1766-1770. Engraved by H. G. Kohler with later ornate silver replacement base.

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Goblet (center) engraved in Bohemia, c. 1720, with silver cuff to repair a snapped stem.

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Both goblets were engraved at Nøstetangen Glassworks by an unknown engraver in 1748. The goblet at left has a silver cuff repairing a broken stem and the goblet at right has a brass replacement base.

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V&A Ceramics Galleries revisited

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

I am back in London for a brief visit on my way to Ireland and the very first thing I did upon arrival was to head over to see the magnificent ceramics collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum. I could spend an entire day peering into the endless floor to ceiling glass cases filed with worldwide and world-class ceramics. Here are some of my favorite examples of inventive repairs found among the collection.

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Take a look at this previous post from just over a year ago, showing other examples from the collection.

“Not a make-do” Yixing teapot, c.1890

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

I purchased this little teapot thinking it was an example of Chinese Yixing ware with an elaborate early repair. It measures 7-1/2″ from spout to handle and is about 4″ high to top of finial. The shape appears to be typically Yixing but the brass lid, spout and horizontal strap, as well as the unusual incised mark on the underside, made me a bit suspicious. Now I feel the teapot dates from the latter part of the 19th century and was made in China for export to the Middle East, and that the mark on the base is Arabic. The brass spout and lid were most likely a part of the original design to help prolong the life of the teapot and not added to replace broken or missing parts. Learning to know the difference between a piece with an inventive repair and a piece that was designed with metal mounts can be a valuable, though sometimes a costly, lesson. Luckily, I did not pay very much for this “not-a-make-do” teapot.

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“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.

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Moser enameled glass pokal, c.1890

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

This tall, regal enameled amber glass pokal was made at the end of the 19th century by the esteemed glass manufacturer Moser, in Karlsbad, Austria; today known as Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. Ludwig Moser opened his first factory in 1857 and soon his artfully decorated glassware found its way into worldwide collections of presidents, popes, king, queens, and Liberace. To the best of my knowledge, this pokal, which measures 15.75 inches tall, was not owned by Liberace. As the bulk of the pokal is quite heavy, I am not surprised that at some point it broke in two, snapping off at the base. Luckily for me, an early practitioner of recycling secured the remaining unscathed upper portion of it to a sturdy brass lamp base, allowing it to be filled to the brim with beer or display an arrangement of fresh flowers.

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This tall amber glass vase made by Moser has its original base intact.

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Photo courtesy of Trocadero