Posts Tagged ‘English’

Miniature creamware teapot, c.1785

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020

I marvel at miniatures and have collected them since I was around 12 years old. As much as I love well proportioned miniature antiques, I am over the moon for antique miniatures with inventive repairs. With that in mind, you can see why this tiny teapot sends me reeling.

This child’s creamware pottery drum form teapot with painted flowers and cherries stands a mere 2.5 inches high and is just over 3.5 inches from handle to spout. It was made in England during the 4th quarter of the 18th century. At some point in its early history, I imagine a child dropped the teapot during play teatime and the original handle broke off. Luckily for the child and eventually for me, a tinsmith made a metal replacement handle and the imaginary tea was able to flow again. Wouldn’t it be great to find an entire miniature tea set with each piece possessing a different early repair? Well, I can dream, can’t I?

This teapot with similar form suggests what the original loop handle on my teapot might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

Smear glaze jug with ornate metal handle, c.1800

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

In March 2014, I was invited to give a talk at the English Ceramics Circle in London. Prior to my arrival, I had asked for members to bring in examples from their collections to look at and discuss. Following the talk I met a lovely woman, Field McIntyre, who brought in three of her treasures, each with vastly different types of repair. She is an extremely knowledgable dealer and collector and I learned a lot about each of her unique pieces. We kept in touch over the years and in January 2019, I received a parcel from London which contained the three pieces from her collection. I was gobsmacked by her extraordinary and generous gift and thrilled to add them to my collection. Thank you again, Field!

This small Dutch shape stoneware pottery jug with smear-glaze slip body was made in England, c.1795-1810. It is decorated with classical white relief sprig decoration showing “Poor Maria (and her dog)” on one side and “Charlotte weeping at the tomb of Werther” on the reverse. Under the spout is decoration showing 2 girls with a pail. Jug is unmarked and measures 2.5 inches high, 4 inches from handle to spout.

After the jug took a tumble and the handle broke off, well over 150 years ago, it was replaced by an unusual copper handle with beads down the center. Says Field “It is the type supplied by various manufacturers to J. Mist, repairer, of London.” I have never come across this type of replacement handle before and hope to find more examples to compare it to. Keep an eye on these pages for upcoming posts showing the other two make-do’s gifted to me from Field.

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

Photo courtesy of Winterthur

Make-do’s in movies: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Saturday, October 3rd, 2020

Last October I was working on The Trial of the Chicago 7, a historical drama written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. This important movie is about the true events surrounding peaceful protests which incited riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Sound familiar? Sadly, history repeats itself.

I like combining two of my interests by using antiques with inventive repairs as set dressing in my film work. On this project, I placed a jug with a metal replacement handle on the set of Attorney General and civil rights lawyer Ramsey Clark, played by Michael Keaton. Unlike some of the other more humble interiors I decorated for Black Panthers, hippies, yippies, and journalists, Clark’s study is wood paneled and filled with traditional American and English furnishings.

The light blue stoneware relief moulded ‘Stag’ jug was made by Stephen Hughes in England, c.1840-55. It stands 5.5 inches high and has an impressed “36” on underside. After the original handle broke off, a tinker made a sturdy metal replacement, which is attached to the original pewter lid.

I will continue to use make-do’s as set dressing in my film work so keep watching and try to spot them. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is currently playing at selected theaters and will be released on Netflix, October 16th. See you at the movies and don’t forget to vote!

This intact example still retains its original handle.

Photo courtesy of Worthpoint

Staffordshire sugar bowl, c.1860

Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

This soft paste pottery footed sugar bowl was made in Staffordshire, England in the mid 1800s. It is decorated with polychrome hand painted flowers & leaves and measures 5.5 inches high, 7.75 inches wide. On the underside is an incised “2” and what appears to be a green hand painted number.

At some point during the early life of this pretty sugar bowl the lid slipped from someone’s fingers and the knob broke off. Rather than toss out a perfectly good bowl, a repurposed brass ring was attached to the lid, held into place with lead. Quite an unusual repair, as tiny rings such as this were used as small box or drawer pulls, and for picture hanging. This is the first time I have seen this type of repair and am pleased that over 100 years ago, someone saved a family heirloom by using a household object and a little bit of ingenuity.

This sugar bowl with similar form suggests what the original knob on mine might have looked like

Photo courtesy of The Townhouse Antiques

Small copper lustre jug with metal handle, c.1830

Sunday, July 26th, 2020

This small pottery jug with copper lustre glaze was most likely made by Enoch Wood & Sons in Staffordshire, England, c.1830. It stands 4.5 inches high and is much smaller than most of the other lustre jugs I have in my collection. I especially like the unusual, whimsical painted decoration, which looks like a tree of green eyeballs, right out of a Dr. Seuss book.

But the real reason you are viewing this jug is because of its metal replacement handle, added by a tinsmith after the original handle broke off. This type of repair is not unusual and can be found on all types of ceramics throughout the world. What makes it special to me is the juxtaposition of the clunky metal handle on the delicate pottery jug with the quirky decoration.

This gives you an idea of what the original handle on my jug would have looked like when it was intact.

Photo courtesy of George Gibison

Stoneware teapot with flute player, c.1760

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

This globular form salt-glazed stoneware teapot was made in Staffordshire, England, c.1760-65. It has a molded crabstock spout and is decorated in polychrome enamels of pink, green, yellow, blue, and black. I quite like how the male flute player and the female dancing among oversized flowers are rendered. Measures 3.25 inches high, 6 inches wide from handle to spout.

Someone must have been a bit clumsy over 200 years ago, as the little teapot has not one but two early repairs – a metal replacement handle and a metal replacement knob. These are both a bit rustic and most likely done by an itinerant tinker, traveling from town to town to repair all types of broken household objects. Thanks to the unsung hero who helped preserve this charming teapot, as well as the original owners who had to good sense to have it repaired and then pass it on for future generations to enjoy.

This teapot, with similar form and decoration, suggests what the original handle and knob might have looked like on my teapot.

Photo courtesy of John Howard

Samuel Hollins coffee pot with silver lid, c.1790

Sunday, May 17th, 2020

I was thrilled to find this elegant baluster form, dry-bodied redware pottery coffee pot recently. It was made by Samuel Hollins in Staffordshire, England, circa 1784-1813, and stands 9 inches high. The applied sprigged decoration of a woman playing the harp is featured on one side, and The Birth of Achilles is on the reverse. Thin silver resist bands decorate the middle, rim, and spout.

The owners of this coffee pot must have been well off, as instead of carving a new lid out of wood or taking it to an itinerant tinsmith for a tin replacement after the original lid broke, they brought it to an established London silversmith for repair. The heavy sterling silver replacement lid is clearly stamped with the maker’s initials HWC, for Henry William Curry, and a date mark for 1867. I think the shiny new lid, beautifully offset by the rich red color of the stoneware, looks better than the original. But then of course, I’m biased.

Check out a previous post, Samuel Hollins stoneware coffee pot, c.1800 showing another Hollins coffeepot with similar form and decoration, but with a more humble repair.

This is what the original domed lid on my coffee pot would have looked like, had it not been broken and replaced.

Photo courtesy of WorthPoint

Alcock “Naomi” jug, c.1847

Saturday, April 4th, 2020

This pale blue Parian salt glaze jug with a molded relief biblical design and a scalloped fitted base was made in Burslem, Staffordshire, England by Samuel Alcock & Co. in 1847. It stands 9.5 inches high and is marked on the underside “Naomi and Her Daughters-in-Law”, along with a British diamond registration mark, dating the jug to 1847. The design was taken from the painting Naomi with Her Daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah by Henry Nelson O’Neill (1817-1880.)

I have seen more examples of the Alcock “Naomi” jug with replacement handles than any other pieces. There must have been a design and or manufacturing flaw in the original molds, which rendered the handle unstable. Although this jug maintains its original pewter lid, it was fitted with a metal replacement handle and support straps after the original handle broke off, most likely soon after it was made.

It would be fun to see how many more jugs with this design and replacement handles are out there, so please let me know if you have own one or have come across any.

Here are both of my Naomi jugs side by side for comparison. Take a look at my other jug at this link.

At last…here’s what the original flawed handle looks like.

Photo courtesy of eBay

Basalt teapot with Sibyl knob, c.1785

Sunday, February 9th, 2020

This classical black basalt pottery teapot with engine-turned ribbed body was made in England, c.1785-95. It stands 4.5 inches high, 8 inches wide from handle to spout. An impressed mark “NEALE & CO” can be found on the underside. My favorite design feature is the Sibyl knop on the lid, an intricately detailed sculptural feat unto itself.

After the original spout broke off – most likely over 175 years ago – a silversmith applied a silver replacement. I tend to keep replacement metals unpolished, as I feel the oxidization adds another layer of beauty to the piece. In this case, the dark richness of the silver spout blends in nicely with the teapots black surface.

This intact teapot with similar form suggests what the original spout on my teapot might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of 1stdibs

Dixon & Sons jug with authentication letter, c.1842

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

Here’s a curious one. I bought this English earthenware pottery jug online many years ago and was pleased to discover that it came with an interesting provenance. It stands 10.5 inch high and is decorated in yellow with Chinoiserie cartouche decorations and floral sprays, over glazed with color washes and gilt trim. It has a Britannia metal lid and a bronze replacement handle, as the original one broke off well over 100 years ago. It is clearly marked on the underside: “PUBLISHED BY JA’S. DIXON & SONS, SHEFFIELD, MARCH 1ST 1842”.

I found a letter rolled up inside of the jug from the manufacturer James Dixon & Sons dated 6th July, 1962, along with a sketch. Here is a transcription of the letter:

“Dear Sir,

We readily identify the earthenware Water Jug from your sketch.

Our records show this and similar jugs were being made and sold by us from 1842 onwards. You could assume the date for yours to be in or near that year.

We have in our possession a Jug as yours.

It is not possible to replace the original handle which was part of the jug. Rough sketch of the handle is enclosed.

These earthenware jugs were specially made for using the Staffordshire Potteries and nowadays they are not obtainable. We fitted the covers which were made from Britannia Metal.

You do not say where you obtained your jug, probably from a second-hand source; on the other hand it may have been in the U.S.A. We did in the past years export them to your country. They are today museum pieces.

We trust we have been of service,

Yours faithfully,

James Dixon & Sons, LTD.”

This identical jug shows what the original handle looked like.

Photo courtesy of Worthpoint