Posts Tagged ‘bronze’

Set of 5 Mason’s Ironstone cups, c.1835

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

In the world of collecting, nothing pleases me more than stumbling upon items with matching inventive repairs, and this set of footed breakfast cups and saucers deliver five times over. Made in England by Mason’s Ironstone from 1830 to 1840, these heavy porcelain cups, measuring nearly 3-1/4″  tall, have the transfer printed “Conversation” pattern in the rare yellow scale colorway. Each cup and saucer is marked in black transfer on the underside MASON’S PATENT IRONSTONE CHINA.

I purchased the set during my last trip to London from dealer Fergus Robert Downey who later told me that he has a sixth cup with an identical replaced handle, so I am hoping to one day have the complete sextet. I can’t imagine that all of the original handles snapped off the cups at the same time, unless a particular breakfast got a bit too rowdy. More likely, one or two handles might have broken off, so in order to keep the set looking uniform, the remaining intact handles were removed and all cups were fitted with the same metal replacement. The metalsmith did a fine job, as all of the handles are well matched and expertly riveted to the cups.

Now about that sixth cup, Fergus… IMG_8477                       IMG_8479                         IMG_8483                           IMG_8485                         IMG_8486                           IMG_8487                           IMG_8489





























































































This cup, in perfect condition, shows what the original handles on my cups would have looked like before they took a tumble.















Photo courtesy of Vanbrugh West Antiques

Chinese bowl with metal bands, c.1800

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

This porcelain bowl was made in China during the Jiaqing period (1796-1820) and measures 2-3/4″ tall, 6-7/8″ in diameter. It is decorated with scrolling lotus blossoms in cobalt blue underglaze “pencil drawn” decoration, a style using cross hatched lines instead of color washes to show shading. It has a blue seal mark on the bottom, as well as an early collector’s inventory label.

At first glance this fine bowl appears unscathed, dare I say “perfect,” showing no noticeable sign of damage or repair. But upon closer inspection, one can see a subtle yet most effective inventive repair. Over 150 years ago when the bowl dropped and broke in half, two simple bronze bands were attached, one along the top rim and the other encircling the base, holding the broken pieces tightly together. Due to the exceptional quality of the repair, I believe a skilled 19th century jeweler was responsible for this delicate work, as the top band’s thickness is an incredible 2/16″ with invisible seams. But most amazingly, not a drop of glue was used to mend this bowl.


Porcelain blue & white jug c.1785

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Chinese porcelain baluster-form hot milk jug with sparrow beak spout, made in the mid to late 18th century during the Qianlong Period (1736-1795). Delicately decorated in underglaze cobalt blue, it shows a large vase sitting on a carved wood table and filled with precious objects surrounded by flowers and a pair of bees. The scale of these objects is a bit off-kilter, which adds a whimsical quality. Jug measures 5-3/4″ high and 4″ wide to the end of handle.

The original porcelain handle was replaced over one hundred years ago with a woven wicker-covered bronze replacement. I have dozens of examples of wicker-covered metal replacement handles in my collection, as this was a standard form of inventive repair; and at first glance, the handles all look pretty much the same, but upon closer inspection, you will see a variation in the pattern of the weaving. This handle has a straightforward checkerboard weave, while some of my pieces have the rattan in more than one color and woven in a more intricate pattern. I think a post dedicated to showing the many variations of woven-handle styles would be interesting, don’t you?

This blue & white decorated jug with similar form still has its porcelain handle and lid intact. Before my jug became an example of “inventive repair” it would have looked much like this one.


Photo courtesy of eBay

Coalport cup with birds, c.1830

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

London shape porcelain cabinet cup, made by Coalport in the early to mid 1800s. The Coalport factory was founded by John Rose in 1795 in Shropshire, a county in the West Midlands region of England. This example is superbly painted with angry looking birds & insects in panels surrounded by ornate gilt scrollwork and a cobalt blue ground. Measures 2-1/2″ high. Delicately formed bronze handle replaces the long lost broken original which had the same simple loop shape.

Qianlong cream jug, c.1750

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

A lovely porcelain baluster form cream jug with sparrow beak spout, decorated in the Famille Rose palette. Made in China during the Qianlong period (1736-96) for export to North America and Europe, when fine porcelain was in high demand

The delicate ornamentation rendered in polychrome enamels depicts a cashpot, itself decorated, and spilling with flowers, vines and a pumpkin

Jug stands 3-1/2″ tall, minus its lost cover

When this jug was dropped and its handle lost, it was brought to a metalsmith who fashioned a replacement handle from bronze. The scroll shape of the new handle, more elaborate in form than its predecessor, suggests it was forged in the early to mid-1800’s

This cream jug, from the same period and of similar form and decoration, has its original cover and handle intact

Photo courtesy of  Guest & Gray

Kangxi period dish, c.1700

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

A ribbed surface Chinese porcelain dish with the “Hundred Antiques” pattern is decorated in a famille verte palette, depicting culturally significant items of the period including vases, textiles and utensils.

After the dish broke and was repaired with metal staples, it was placed in an elaborate circa 1750 bronze rococo mount with cherubs.

10 metal staples were used to hold this dish back together again.

The dish alone is 6″ in diameter and measures 9-3/4″ long including the added bronze mount.

An unusual detail is a porcelain fragment from another broken object, added to the top portion of the mount.

If anyone has information on this mark, please let me know.

Large Chinese Qianlong mug, c.1760

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

This large Chinese porcelain mug from the Qianlong (pronounced SHEEN-LOONG) period is from the mid-1700’s and is decorated in the Mandarin style with polychrome enamels.

Mug measures 5-3/4″ high and has a finely painted courtyard scene, wrapping around three sides.

I love when there are multiple repairs on one object and this mug boasts three different types of inventive repair, including an incised bronze collar to mask chips along the rim.

A wicker wrapped bronze replacement handle stands in for the long lost original porcelain handle. Just below the brass collar are metal staples which stabilize a vertical crack.

The original handle was simply shaped, much like the one pictured below.

Photo courtesy of Guest & Gray

Meissen porcelain teacup, c.1760

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

This German porcelain teacup with scalloped rim is delicately painted with a Watteau style figures in a landscape and floral sprigs in tones of copper green, pink and black. It dates from the middle 1700s and bears a cobalt blue crossed swords mark on the underside. It measures 2-3/4″ tall.

A tiny leaf is painted on the inside of the cup, masking one of the few pinpoint sized bubbles in the glaze.

The underside reveals a cobalt blue crossed swords mark.

A well made forged bronze replacement handle from mid-1800s takes the place of the more fragile porcelain original, which must have snapped off early in the cup’s life.

The hand hammered bronze pins are seen from the inside of the cup.

This is what the original “split twig” handle might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Cyberattic

Chinese Imari pattern teapot, c.1750

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

A Chinese porcelain globular form teapot with Japanese influenced Imari decoration, stands 4″ high. The bullet shape was inspired by European silver of the same period.

When the original porcelain handle broke off, the teapot was taken to a china mender and fitted with a bronze handle replacement. Finely woven rattan embellishes the metal handle as well as provides protection from the heat of a pot full of hot tea.

A silver rim was added to mask chips along the lid and a silver “safety” chain keeps the lid and the teapot together.

This teapot with similar form and decoration still sports its original handle.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 10.19.43 AM

Photo courtesy of Moorabool Antiques


Baluster cruet jug, c.1710

Monday, March 15th, 2010

A unusual Chinese porcelain baluster form cruet jug with beak spout, stands 5-1/2″ high. It is decorated in the Chinese Imari pattern, using cobalt blue and iron red enamel washes and gilt highlights.

The original porcelain handle has been replaced by a woven rattan covered gilt bronze handle, set at right angle.

These three examples of similarly formed cruet jugs each have their original handles & lids.

Photo courtesy of Christie’s