Posts Tagged ‘commemorative’

Engraved goblet with Mining Scenes, c.1690

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

This superbly engraved blown wine glass was made in Nuremberg, Germany, c.1680-1700. It stands 10.5 inches high. The large bowl features finely engraved scenes of open-pit mining and a large coat of arms, believed to belong to one of the Counts of Mansfeld. The delicate stem is made up of a series of hollow knobs and rings and amazingly, has remained intact after knocking around for over 330 years. 

The foot was not so lucky. As would be expected of a large, fragile glass object such as this, the original glass foot broke off hundreds of years ago, and was fitted with an elegant hand hammered silver replacement. It is engraved with the name “Mansfeld”, the date “1530”, and in a tiny font “A.E. 12”. As Mansfeld, Germany was the center of silver mining for over 800 years, this magnificent goblet was most likely made by one of the Mansfeld families as a commemorative piece. 

As with almost everything from my collection, we will never know for sure how the piece broke, who repaired it, and what happened to it after it was reborn. I’m just glad that so many of them ended up in my collection and that I can share them with you.

This goblet from the same period shows what the original glass base on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Scottish Antiques

Small Sunderland jug “Great Australia”, c.1865

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

This small Dutch shape pearlware pottery Sunderland jug, commemorating the sailing ship “Great Australia”, stands 6.25 inches high. It was made in Sunderland, UK, c.1860-1870 and has pink lustre and dark red transfer decoration with over washes of yellow, green, and blue. The other side has the verse: “From rocks and sands and barren land. Kind fortune keep me free. And from great guns and woman’s tongues, Good Lord deliver me.” A nice sentiment, although not quite politically correct.

A tinker in the 19th century created the metal replacement handle with finger grip and a wide horizontal band, replacing the original broken pottery handle.

I purchased this jug and a medium size one from a London dealer earlier this year. Along with a large jug I purchased many years ago from a different dealer in London, I now have a trio of graduating size jugs, each with similar decoration and metal replacement handles. Take a look at the other two: Large Sunderland jug, c.1855Medium Sunderland jug “Great Australia”, c.1865. I promise one day to snap a photo of all three jugs together.

This jug of similar form and decoration shows what the original handle on mine would have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art

Medium Sunderland jug “Great Australia”, c.1865

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

This Dutch shape pearlware pottery jug was made in Sunderland, England, c.1860-1870. It has dark red transfer decoration of the sailing ship “Great Australia” on one side and verses on the other side and front, accented with washes of pink lustre, yellow, green, and blue. “Great Australia” was built for Messrs Baines & Co. in Liverpool and launched in Decemeber 1860. Jug measures 8 inches high and 9.5 inches from handle to spout.

The large metal replacement handle with finger grip, thumb support, and a wide horizontal band were done by a tinker in the 19th century. As these jugs were prone to constant wear and tear, it was not uncommon for handles to break off and be replaced. Larger towns and cities had local tinkers but if you lived in a smaller town or village, you would bring your broken household items to itinerant tinkers, who would travel from town to town and set up on the side of the road or in the town square.

I love finding make-do’s in multiples and was thrilled to find this jug, which is one of a pair. Even better, they match a large jug I purchased many years ago with a similar metal replacement handle, making the set, graduating in size, a trio. Take a look at Large Sunderland jug, c.1855 the largest jug I previously posted.

This jug of similar form and decoration shows what the original handle on mine would have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art

Character jug with stapled face, c.1924

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

Is this another monster created by Dr. Frankenstein? Not exactly, but it looks like his English relative.

This blue-glazed pottery character jug in the form of British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was designed by Percy Metcalfe and produced in Surrey, England, by Ashtead Potters between 1923-1929. It stands 7.5 inches high and is boldly marked on the underside and numbered 202 of a limited edition of one thousand.

We will never know for sure if the jug became broken accidentally or if it was thrown in disgust as a result of a disagreement over the political views of the Right Honorable Stanley Baldwin. Either way, four small metal staples were used to repair his broken face. Ouch, that’s gotta hurt!

Three other commemorative jugs were made in this series. Shown here in Pearl Barley glaze, they include Attorney General Lord Hailsham (Douglas McGarel Hogg), British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, and Australian Prime Minister Stanley Melbourne Bruce.

Photo courtesy of Ashtead Pottery

William of Orange commemorative jug, c.1840

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

This colorful soft paste baluster form commemorative jug was made in England around 1840 and is decorated with a figure of William of Orange on horseback, figures showing brotherly love, a crown, flowers and Protestant emblems. It has polychrome glazed black transfer decoration, hand painted flowers and pink lustre trim, measuring 6 inches tall and 7-3/4 inches wide from handle to spout.

After the original handle broke off, a tinker secured the sturdy copper replacement handle to the body using two flat screws. See an earlier post, Inventive repairs at the Rijksmuseum, showing a painting, Prince’s Day by Jan Havicksz Steen (1625-1679), depicting the birthday celebration of Prince William III of Orange-Nassau on November 14, 1650.

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This jug with the same transfer decoration still has its original handle intact.

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Photo courtesy of eBay

Make-do’s at the MET, part 4

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

I spotted this during my last visit to the American Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The description in the showcase says more than I could possibly say:

“This extraordinary punchbowl features a remarkably faithful replica of the engraved certificate, dated December 1785, issued to Ebenezer Stevens (1751-1823) by the Society of the Cincinnati. Stevens was a major-general in command of the New York artillery and was vice president of the New York branch of the society. The decorative silver-gilt mount on the rim and around the foot were probably made during the early nineteenth century in response to an earlier crack—evidence of the extent to which the bowl was valued by its owner…”

Punch Bowl
Date: ca. 1786–90
Geography: China
Culture: Chinese, for American market
Medium: Porcelain
Dimensions: Diam. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Classification: Ceramics
Credit Line: Gift of Lucille S. Pfeffer, 1984
Accession Number: 1984.449

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Sunderland Bridge etched glass jug, c.1840

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

This unusual hand blown commemorative glass jug with applied handle was made in England around 1840 and stands 6-1/4″ high. It features beautifully engraved images including a frigate in full sail under the Wearmouth Bridge in Sunderland, an oval cartouche with “WH” monogram, an elaborate fruit basket, a spray of wheat, roses and grapes. Examples of Sunderland souvenirs made of glass are more unusual than the popular pottery pieces with colorful transfer decoration, overglaze washes and pink lustre highlights.

The Wearmouth Bridge was completed in 1796 but was still being commemorated well into the middle of the 19th century. When opened it was the longest single span bridge in the world. The original bridge was replaced in 1929 and is still in use today.

It must have taken a skilled hand to stabilize the large horizontal crack using just 5 metal rivets. The underside reveals a ground pontil mark, as well as scratches and wear, showing that this jug has been well used. But it’s remarkable that a fragile glass jug such as this hasn’t sustained even more wear and damage over the past 175 years.

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Photo courtesy of The Sunderland Site

Napoleonic War commemorative mug, c.1814

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

I am a big fan of commemorative pottery, particularly ones with strong graphics and bright colors. Whenever I spot an example from afar in a shop, I secretly hope that it has some sort of inventive repair. Sometimes I get lucky. This creamware mug with printed transfer and hand colored decoration boasts the message “Peace of Europe Signed at Paris May 30, 1814.” Made in 1814 by Bristol Pottery in England to celebrate the signing of the peace treaty marking the end of war with France, this mug measures 4-3/4″ tall and 5-1/4″ wide to end of handle. Check out the details in photos showing the Bristol Pottery mark, the factory in the background, and ships with wood crates no doubt filled with pottery for export.

This mug possesses numerous battle scars, including chips, cracks, and the loss of its original loop handle. After the handle broke off, a 19th century tinker replaced it by drilling through the body and attaching a metal replacement with two square fasteners. To add insult to injury, the replacement handle is covered in rust, a result of further neglect. But if this mug were in “perfect” condition, I would not have purchased it.

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This example, with different copy and overglaze coloring, can be found in the collection of the British Museum in London.

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Masonic creamware mug, c.1800

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

This cylindrical form creamware mug was made by Herculaneum Pottery in Liverpool, England, circa 1800. I am a sucker for bold graphics so you can understand why I like this mug so much. It is covered with black transfer decoration of Masonic symbols and stands 5 inches high, with an opening of 3-1/2 inches.

What makes this early mug so special to me is the sturdy silver replacement handle. Although unmarked, it appears to have been made by a silversmith in the early 20th century. An elaborate silver mounting system was devised to hold the new handle in place by mounting it to a broad plate and attaching it to a rim and base. The choice to mount the replacement handle, as opposed to drill through the body and bolt on a new handle, may have saved the mug from possible leakage and more damage. Typically, I do not polish metal repairs, as I feel the darkened patina adds to the overall appearance of the piece. I like how the tarnished silver is close to the color of the printed decoration, enhancing this clever repair even more.

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This mug with the same form and decoration shows what my mug would have looked like with its original handle intact.

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Photo courtesy of Bramfords

Worcester “King of Prussia” mug, c.1757

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

I purchased this first period bell-shaped Worcester porcelain mug from a dealer in the UK who has been feeding my compulsive desire for antiques with inventive repairs for many years. It has a black transfer print of Frederick the Great, the King of Prussia, along with military trophies, an angel blowing a trumpet, and a putto with a wreath. It is dated 1757 under his left arm and marked RH (for Robert Hancock) Worester and an anchor mark for Richard Holdship (a rebus for his last name.) The decoration was taken from Richard Houston’s engraving after a painting by Antoine Pesne.

This is one of those items that if I saw one in a shop in “perfect” condition, I would secretly wish it had an early repair, as I am drawn to strong graphic images on ceramics. Luckily for me, this one has a metal replacement handle, attached by a metalsmith after the original loop handle broke off, as well as two metal staples to help stabilize a crack.

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During my recent visit to the UK, I spotted the same transfer decoration on numerous pieces of ceramics included in many different museum collections. This jug can be found in the fabulous ceramics collection at the V&A.

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This mug, with similar form, decoration, and its original handle intact, shows what the handle on my mug looked like before it snapped off.

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Photo courtesy of Stockspring Antiques