Posts Tagged ‘Italian’

Inventive repairs in Prague

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

I just returned from a trip to Prague where I was bowled over by the seemingly endless amount of stunning Art Nouveau architecture, paintings, and decorative arts. Naturally, I was on the lookout for ceramics and glassware with inventive repairs, and was delighted to actually stumble upon a few good examples.

The most interesting ones were hiding in plain sight within the Prague Castle walls at the Lobkowicz Palace, which houses the Princely Collections of paintings, instruments, original musical scores, and decorative arts.

Two pieces of early rare Italian maiolica have what appears to be unexceptional 19th century tinker repairs. One of the jugs has a clunky and poorly painted replacement spout. I am surprised that the repairs found on these pieces were not executed with more artistry and finesse.

Rather than write the captions for my photos, I have copied directly from the English translations found on the glass display cases:

“Examples of a large service from Savona in North Italy, late 17th century.”







IMG_7300 - Version 2

“Examples from an extensive service of maiolica, from the Pavia region of Lombardy, painted in polychrome with scenes of figures and ruined buildings in mountainous coastal landscapes, all within borders of detailed moulded and painted acanthus leaf, flowers and grotesques some with wheat husk edging: Italian, late 17th century.”




Richard Ginori “Broken” Dinnerware

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Today I visited the NYC showroom of porcelain manufacturer Richard Ginori, founded in Italy by Florentine Marquis Carlo Ginori in 1735, and home to hundreds of stunning, colorful patterns. But what I was most drawn to was a line of dinnerware ironically named “Broken”, the least colorful dishes in the showroom. This ingenious collection of 14 pieces was designed in 2010 by architect and product designer Paola Navone. Each of these stark white porcelain pieces features printed cracks “repaired” with trompe l’oeil metal staples. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a repaired “Broken” plate with actual metal staples? I guess that would be an example of life imitating art imitating life…

Dinner plate measures 10-1/2″ in diameter.

The trompe l’oeil staples and cracks look truly convincing even upon close inspection.

“Cracked” teacup, guaranteed not to leak, and matching saucer.

Soup plate, broken in three places, is held together with three staples. Or is it?

Sugar bowl and milk pot from the tea service.

Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy

Friday, July 16th, 2010

When I was in Florence, Italy last year I was taken to Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, established by Dominican monks in the 13th century and now one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. I found it to be more of a museum which also happens to sell soaps and elixirs, with many gorgeous rooms filled with faded antique furnishings and fresco painted walls. Much to my delight, I stumbled upon a glass showcase in a back room, filled with antique pottery with inventive repairs. I am guessing that very few people in the pharmacy take notice of the unusual ceramic vessels with prosthetic handles

The antique majolica apothecary jar in front has replacement handles made of metal which copied the shape of the original ceramic handles, as seen on the intact jars behind it

The four antique majolica apothecary jars in the back row all have similar metal replacement handles, copying the shape of the original handles seen on the three  jars in front of them

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Tuscan pottery jug, c.1860

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

When this redware pottery Italian jug from the mid-1800’s cracked, a skillful person enmeshed it in a hand-woven wire net.

I spotted this jug at an outdoor market in Tuscany a few years ago and since then I discovered similarly repaired pottery from other European countries.

The large rim chip on the lip reveals the red clay underneath the black glaze. Jug stands 6-3/4″ high.