Posts Tagged ‘brass’

Pair of armorial sauce boats, c.1790

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

As collectors, we all have stories of “the one that got away” and for me it happened in June 1991, on the very first day I started collecting antiques with inventive repairs. Having landed in London the night before and still jet lagged, I stumbled down Portobello Road and wandered into a crowded stall selling porcelains. I spotted a pair of Chinese Export sauce boats each with a replaced metal loop handle. Pleading with the dealer to sell me just one, which I could barely afford, she broke up the pair and I happily walked away with what would be the start of my collection. Even then, I immediately regretted not being able to afford its mate, but I was pleased to at least own the one. To this day, I keep hoping I will come across the orphan I left behind and be able to reunite the two. So, if anyone can help me locate the long lost twin, I will be forever grateful and you will be rewarded for your excellent sleuthing!

The lone survivor of my maddening “Sophie’s Choice” moment

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You can imagine how happy I was to have been recently contacted by dealer Polly Latham of Boston, MA, offering me a pair of Chinese Export sauce boats, each with identical replacement handles and decorated with an armorial coat of arms, no less. This pair, a part of a larger dinner service, was made for export to the English market at the end of the 18th century and bear the Arms of Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale (1759-1839). Maitland, a noted statesman, politician and controversial social and political critic of his time, criticized the clergy, condemned slavery and was an ardent supporter of the French Revolution. The motto under the coat-of-arms, intricately painted in polychrome enamels with gilt highlights, translates to “Wisdom and Courage”. Each measures 2 inches high and 7.75 inches long.

I am pleased to proclaim that as long as I am the caretaker of this fine pair, they shall remain unseparated. You can click here if you want more info.

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The replaced handles are made of forged brass, covered in woven rattan, and pinned to the end of the sauce boats with two metal rivets. The rattan covering is not only decorative but also used to insulate the metal handle from the hot contents.

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Take a look at the rest of the large dinner service, all bearing the arms of Maitland, including a pair of identical sauce boats with original handles intact, located in the center of the middle shelf.

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Photo courtesy of Polly Latham Antiques

Small toy cannon, c.1880

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

I hit the jackpot this past November while visiting friends in southern Vermont for the Thanksgiving holiday. On “Black Friday”, my dear friend Hilary and I ventured out to visit a few local antiques shops when I stumbled upon a set of three toy cannons, graduating in size, and each with a unique inventive repair.

This little gem, the smallest of the three, measures 3-1/2″ long and is 1-1/2″ tall. The tiny cast brass barrel, with its lovely green patina, is set in to the simple, yet effective, replacement base carved from a small block of wood, and held in place by two metal loops.

I particularly like the the three steps in the back and how the top of the wooden base was carved out in the exact shape of the cannon’s barrel so it would fit snugly in place. The dark greenish-brown painted surface remains mostly intact but shows some wear due, no doubt, to endless hours of battles played out in the safe confines of a patriotic young boy’s back yard. These toy cannons might have been manufactured in 1876, to help commemorate America’s centennial.

I will be posting the other two cannons from the same lot in the coming months, so be on the lookout. And please take a look at another small toy cannon, with a much cruder home-made repair, previously posted in these pages.

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This toy cast iron ship’s signal cannon from the early 1800s shows what the original base on my cannon might have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of Land and Sea Collection

Mystery vessel with incised brass collar

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

I purchased this large and extremely heavy ceramic vessel about one year ago from a dealer who knew absolutely nothing about it. In the ensuing months, I have tried my best to research its country of origin and age, only to come to a screeching halt. A friend who works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art forwarded the photos on to a couple of experts in their fields and the results were less than satisfying. His response was: “The Islamic folks think it looks Ancient Near Eastern and the Ancient Near East folks think it looks Islamic”. I then sent the photos to a collector of ancient Chinese ceramics living in Hong Kong who had this to say: “…my personal thinking it maybe an old piece, possibly around Yuan-Ming 14th-17th century from the cutting of foot rim, glaze and the shape. You can imagine..how much there we spent times and money just to repaired by brass to mouth rim. We must used logically consideration. Last but not least, I predicted it’s from some kind small kilns in China which just a few people can identified…”. Hmm.

These are the facts I do know: the vessel has a distressed green crackle glaze over a red clay pottery body. It measures 14″ high, has an opening of 4-1/4″ and is 8″ wide from handle to handle. An asymmetrical brass collar with an incised floral pattern is covering most of the neck, presumably masking a damaged top. As far as the repair goes, it seems to be of Middle Eastern design, possibly Turkish.

I would greatly appreciate any information anyone may have to help me identify this truly puzzling piece.

 

American brass bell, c.1900

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

This whimsical yet simple double repair gives a new meaning to Yankee ingenuity. What do you do when both the handle and the clapper of a small brass bell from the early 1900s are no longer functional? First you grab a wooden handle from an old rubber stamp and reattach it to the crown of the bell. Then you find a brass Civil War Navy uniform button and fasten it to the inside of the bell, which is just what an enterprising person did to their broken bell in New England sometime in the early part of the 20th century. So thanks to them, I am now able to ring in the new year with my make-do bell. Happy 2013!

Unusual glass goblet, c.1880

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

This seemingly simple American-made glass goblet is actually a uniquely crafted example of thrift and imagination. It utilizes the reuse of three different broken items: two seperate glass goblets and an oil lamp. The top portion bowl is made of blown glass and has a hand cut “thumbprint” pattern decoration.

 

The bowl and base are held together with a brass lamp ferrule (the collar that attaches a burner to a lamp base). Goblet measures 6″ high and has a diameter of 3-3/8″.

 

The three-mold pressed glass replacement base was salvaged from another goblet, making this a tripartite repair job!

 

Large brass skimmer, c.1840

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Heavy brass skimmer made by an English metalsmith in the mid-1800’s. After many years use of skimming the contents of an iron pot in an open hearth, the skimmer finally snapped off at the end of its long handle

A thick iron patch was attached to the front, using hand forged iron rivets

Skimmer measures 25-1/2″ long and has a diameter of 9-1/4″

A combination of iron and copper rivets were used to attach the “Y” shaped reinforcement patch to the back

Brass candle holder, c.1880

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Solid brass candlestick, made in America and measuring 10″ tall

Conical tin replacement base, constructed by bending a piece of tin and crimping the bottom edge

The base looks as if it were made from a funnel

Another brass candlestick shown with a square footed base

Photo courtesy of One of a Kind Antiques

Brass candlestick with nutty base, c.1875

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

A surprising blend of cultures merge when this English cast brass candlestick was attached to a carved Brazil nut pod, after the brass base broke off.

Candle holder with replacement base stands 6.75 inches tall and the repair was most likely done in South America in the early 1900s.

This typical brass candle holder shows what the original base might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Denhams

Photo courtesy of The Spice Necklace

American Rockingham jug, c.1870

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Also known as Bennington pottery, this yellow ware pottery pitcher has a lustrous manganese brown glaze. American Rockingham, made in Bennington, Vermont in the 19th century, is named for the Marquis of Rockingham, whose works produced a ware of similar color in England.

Jug measures 7-1/2″ high and has a replaced brass handle and straps, most likely made by an itinerant brazier. The unusual choice of brass compliments the warm glaze tones.

Similar jug showing what the handle on my jug might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane