Posts Tagged ‘pottery’

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

Delft floral plate, c.1700s

Sunday, October 11th, 2020

I found this colorful tin glazed earthenware pottery plate at a shop in Amsterdam about 6 years ago. It was made in the Netherlands in the 1700s and has stylized floral decoration in polychrome enamels of green, orange, and blue on a white ground. It measures 9 inches in diameter.

After the plate broke, well over 200 years ago, it was repaired most likely by an itinerant repairer. Holes were drilled on either side of the crack and multiple strands of thin brass wire were looped through the holes. The remaining spaces were filled with plaster or a binder of some sort. This is a variation on staple/rivet repairs in which holes are drilled part way through and small metal clamps are secured to the broken pieces. I have found many repairs like these predominantly in Northern France, Brussels, and the Netherlands.

Similar plate with similar crack is in the permanent collection at the Detroit Institute of Art.

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts

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

Blue & white Spanish plate, c.1870

Sunday, June 7th, 2020

This striking tin-glazed earthenware pottery plate was most likely made in Manises, Valencia, Spain in the late 1800s. It is boldly decorated with stylized trees, flowers and houses in cobalt blue glaze and measures 12.25 inches in diameter.

On the underside is the mark Fv V(?) as well as 7 HUGE metal wire staples, which were attached well over 100 years ago after the plate broke in half. Metal staples/rivets were used in many parts of the world to repair broken ceramics and glassware, ranging in size from less than 1/2 inch to over 3 inches long. Repairs done on tin glazed pottery from Spain, Italy and France typically have larger iron staples such as these.

My plate would feel right at home with this collection at the Museum of Ceramics in Manises, Spain.

Photo courtesy of Museu de Ceramica de Manises

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

Floral French faience plate, c.1830

Saturday, April 18th, 2020

This colorful faience (tin-glazed) earthenware plate was made in north-eastern France in the early 1800s. The bold floral decoration is rendered in polychrome enamels, attributed to small pottery workshops in the town of Les Islettes in the Lorraine region. The plate measures 12 inches in diameter.

Earthenware is less durable than porcelain and stoneware so it is not uncommon to find tin-glazed plates from this period with early repairs. After the plate broke, a restorer reunited the two pieces by drilling small holes straight through the surface, lacing a small piece of sturdy wire through the holes, and twisting the ends together. Putty or a bonding cement was added to fill the gaps in the holes. Sometimes multiple strands of thin brass wire were used instead of one piece of heavier wire. Other popular types of repairs in the region include large staples and rivets, also found throughout the world.

My high school French teacher found this plate in Belgium about 6 years ago and knew I would give it a good home. Thanks Marianne for your keen eye!

Many examples of plates similar to mine are on view at the Seisaam Museum in north-east France.

Photo courtesy of Seisaam Museum

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