Posts Tagged ‘pottery’

Small Yixing teapot with silver spout, c.1875

Sunday, June 2nd, 2019

This minuscule red stoneware pear shaped Yixing teapot was made in China during the middle to late 1800s. It stands just 2.5 inches high and has an incised mark on the underside.

Although this tiny teapot looks like a child’s miniature, it was made for adults to actually use. As a result of a tea ceremony mishap, the original spout must have snapped off and an expertly executed silver replacement was made. Further evidence of its intended use is a tiny hole on the lid for steam to escape, as well as a strainer inside the replacement spout.

Take a look at this previous post of mine, miniature Yixing teapot with gold cuffs, the only example in my collection with gold repairs.

And if anyone can translate the mark on the bottom, please let me know!

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

Photo courtesy of ChinaHao.com

Small sprigged jug with brass handle, c.1820

Sunday, May 26th, 2019

Good things come in small packages, as is evident by this small but mighty Dutch shape jug, which was made in England between 1815 and 1820. It stands 3.5 inches high, 4.25 inches wide from handle to spout and has a lavender ground with white sprigged decorations including gryphons, cupids, a figural Baccus head spout, a large urn, and a rim border of grape clusters and leaves. Possibly made by Ridgway Pottery but many other potters made this and similar designs.

Over 150 years ago, a clever metalsmith fashioned a simple brass replacement handle. Without compromising the jug by drilling through the side, this practical handle clips on to the broken ends of the jug, much like a crown repairs a broken tooth. While many types of metal are used to repair broken ceramics, polished brass is not one of the more common materials. I find that the warm golden tone adds a regal touch to this small but highly decorative jug.

This jug, identical to mine, shows what the original handle looked like.

Photo courtesy of eBay

Coffee pot with metal lid, c.1810

Sunday, April 21st, 2019

This pearlware pottery baluster form reeded coffee pot was made in England in the early 1800s. It is decorated with delicate flowers and ribbons in shades of pink, green, and orange and stands 9.5 inches high. The underside is marked with a tiny orange leaf.

At some point in its early life, the original lid broke or went missing and the base cracked. Fear not, as a tinker made a tin replacement lid with a brass knob and attached a tin band around the base to repair the crack. Want another cup of coffee? Yes, can do!

This coffee pot with similar form and decoration, shows that the original lid on mine would have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Gugelhupf cake mold with wire net, c.1830

Sunday, April 14th, 2019

I have seen hundreds of tinker-repaired metal replacement handles, spouts, and lids on antique ceramic teapots, jugs, cups, and sugar bowls throughout North America and the UK. What is harder find are cracked items with woven wire repairs, which I have come across in Italy, France, Germany and Eastern Europe. The most famous region for wire repairs is Slovakia, where tinkers still repair broken vessels and embellish new ceramics in the same manner as it was originally done, hundreds of years ago.

This heavy hafner earthenware gugelhupf cake mold was made in Germany during the Biedermeier period (1815-1848.) It measures 10.5 inches in diameter and is 4.25 inches high. The woven wire encases the mold like a net, keeping the broken pieces in place. Although this type of repair is certainly not invisible, I feel the additional layer of what appears to be a fish net adds much to the visual appeal of the piece.

Wire repair in Slovakia dates back hundreds of years…

…and is still being done there today.

Masonic Sunderland lustre jug, c.1845

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

This Dutch-form pottery jug was made in Sunderland, England, between 1830 and 1860. It is decorated with pink lustre and 3 large black transfer panels depicting King Solomon’s Temple, Masonic symbols, tools and verses. Jug measures 9 inches high and 10 inches wide from the end of the handle to the tip of the spout.

I am a big fan of Masonic imagery on antique pottery, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to find this large jug sporting an unusual repurposed handle. Well over 100 years ago after the original loop handle broke off, a clever tinker attached an ornate handle repurposed from a damaged (I can only assume) metal coffee pot. This is the truest form of a making do: creating one functional piece from 2 unusable broken ones. When you compare my unique jug to the “perfect” example seen in the last photo, it’s clear to see why I gravitate toward the quirky over the expected. There is indeed beauty in imperfection.

This jug, with similar form and decoration, shows what the original handle on mine would have looked like before it broke off.

Photo courtesy of Maine Antique Digest

Yixing teapot with rabbit finial, c.1750

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

This unusual quadrangular form, brown stoneware Yixing teapot was made in China in the middle of the 18th century. It has a rabbit finial and measures approximately 5 inches high and 7 inches from handle to spout.

At some point in its early life, the original loop handle broke off and was replaced by an expertly made carved wood replacement. I am not sure if the silver spout was added at the same time as the handle, but it is also an early replacement, most likely done by a fine jeweler or silversmith.

I particularly like the rabbit finial, which has a missing foot. When I was young I was given a rabbit’s foot key chain. I was quite fond of it until I realized, much to my horror, that it was an actual rabbit’s foot! I do hope this little guy’s foot didn’t end up dangling from the end of a tiny keychain.

Copper lustre jug with badminton decoration, c.1830

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

This English copper lustre jug with canary yellow and painted over transfer decoration of a woman and child playing badminton, dates from around 1830 and stands 5.75 inches high. It is not uncommon and I have seen dozens of examples of it in various sizes, all priced affordably.

What sets this particular jug apart from the other “perfect” examples are the inventive repairs. Unable to glue the original broken handle back on, a metalsmith in the 1800s fashioned an ornate replacement and used 2 metal staples to stabilize cracks. I find the metal handle quite pleasing, and am not at all bothered but the metal staples, which can be viewed as badminton birdies flying away.

This is what the jug looks like with its original handle intact.

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Photo courtesy of Martyn Edgell Antiques

Mocha ware mug with marbled and combed slip, c.1780

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

This wonderfully graphic mug was made in England in the late 1700s. It is decorated with marbled and combed slip in shades of brown, tan, and cream, reminiscent of French marbled paper. It stands 5 inches high and has an opening diameter of 3.25 inches. The metal replacement handle, most likely made by an itinerant metalsmith in the 19th century, has developed a warm patina over the past 150+ years, which compliments the decoration nicely.

I purchased this mug at auction, along with a few other pieces, which were originally in the collection of Jonathan Rickard, renowned mocha ware expert and author of Mocha and Related Dipped Wares, 1770-1939. He says of this mug “The marbled & combed mug came from a British dealer and it originated around 1775-1782 based on wastes from the William Greatbatch excavation.” Thank you Jonathan for your devotion, thorough research, and love of all things mocha.

This mug, with similar form and decoration, suggest what the original handle on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Skinner

Family platter with kintsugi gold repair

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

Many years ago, Mark inherited dozens of pieces from a large earthenware dinner service made in England by Enoch Wood & Sons, c.1835-1846. The set was previously owned by his grandparents and although I assumed they liked it, everyone else in the family thought it was ugly. I am not typically a fan of multi-color transferware but I love this set, especially the Grand Tour theme, consisting of different romantic European vistas. After his grandfather passed away, it was clear that nobody wanted the dishes except for us. Before we received them, Mark’s uncle Dick extracted some of the pieces and sent one to each family member as a memento, including this small platter, which was sent to Mark’s mother Mary. Sadly, it did not make the journey from Massachusetts to Washington intact. The shattered platter sat on top of Mary’s piano for a couple of years and the next time I saw it, about a year later, a small tube of glue was sitting amongst the broken shards. After yet another year or so, I saw that an attempt had been made to repair the platter and curiously, a metal washer (!) had been inadvertently glued to the front. At this point, I had to take matters into my own hands and asked Mary if I could rescue the platter and try to repair it myself.

I had recently taken a Kintsugi class to learn the ancient Japanese method of repair using lacquer and gold, and felt this platter was a worthy candidate. I used brown urushi lacquer to join the pieces, painted over the cracks with red lacquer, and finally applied real gold dust. The bond is supposedly stronger than any known cement, epoxy or glue.

The Japanese believe in embracing imperfections and I am thrilled to have brought some dignity back to this poor platter. My next project is a HUGE meat platter from the same set which fell off the wall, shattering into dozens of pieces. I’ve got my work cut out for me so stay tuned.

Yixing teapot with elaborate silver repairs, c.1700

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

This gorgeous rectangular red/brown Yixing pottery teapot was made in China, c.1700. It is decorated with 6 panels of appliqué decoration, including four-clawed dragons chasing flaming pearls amidst clouds. It measures 8 inches high, 7 inches wide, 3.75 inches deep.

Not only is the teapot itself stunning, but the elaborate replacement handle, lid and mounts are a knockout. After the original handle broke off, it was taken to a skilled silversmith who made a solid silver replacement stirrup-shaped handle with leaf mounts, along with a scalloped rim and base, spout, and a replacement lid with an ivory knob. I especially love the cutout heart at the end of the spout. The hallmark inside of the lid, W.F. over A.F. in a chamfered square, is for Fordham & Faulker (William Charles Fordham & Albert Faulkner), Orchard Works, Orchard Lane, Sheffield, UK. I have yet to research the hallmark but am looking forward to discovering the year the repair was done. Stay tuned.

I purchased this a few months ago from a dealer in the UK who said it was once in the private collection of British actress Rita Tushingham (Dr. Zhivago, etc.) Thanks, Rita for having such exquisite taste!

This teapot of similar form suggests what the original handle on mine might have looked like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Woolley & Wallis