Posts Tagged ‘pottery’

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

Westerwald jug with pewter bands, c.1800

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

This Westerwald stoneware pottery jug with pewter mounts was made in Germany, c.1800. It is decorated in an ornate scroll-like relief pattern with cobalt and manganese glazes. The pewter bands around the neck are a later addition to help stabilize multiple cracks, and the original pewter top has the engraved initials of H. R. It stands 13.5 inches high, 5.5 inches wide.

I would love to find out more information on this striking jug so please post any insights you may have.

I’ve had trouble finding an accurate “before” photo so instead I’ve included a wonderful German oil painting c.1675, featuring an early stoneware jug, similar in style to mine. Now, if only it had an early inventive repair…

George Washington commemorative jug, c.1800

Saturday, September 7th, 2019

This large creamware jug was made for the US market, most likely in the Liverpool area of London, c.1800. It stands 9 inches high and is decorated with transfer decoration commemorating George Washington and includes an eagle, American flags, and other patriotic symbols.

Over 200 years ago, someone must have slammed the pottery jug down on the bar a bit too harshly and cracked the bottom. Luckily for me, a skilled tinsmith fashioned a unique patch attached to a band at the base, which helped bring the broken vessel back to life. I hope that if George Washington were alive today, he would be approve of the inventive repair done on his jug.

This jug, identical in form and decoration, shows what mine would have looked like when it was intact.

Photo courtesy of Martyn Edgell Antiques

Mocha ware mug with marbled decoration, c.1800

Sunday, August 11th, 2019

This unusual mocha ware mug with slip marbled decoration against a banded background of brown and yellow slip is the 4th piece I bought at auction from the collection of Jonathan Rickard, renowned mocha ware expert and author of Mocha and Related Dipped Wares, 1770-1939. Says Jonathan: “The very rough mug that defies categorization was found at the Connecticut Spring Antiques Show…about three years ago.” It stands 5 inches high and was made in England, c.1800.

It was not unusual for damaged mugs such as this to be resurrected by local tinsmiths. This one boasts a simple metal replacement handle and two horizontal bands. Thank you Jonathan for your devotion, thorough research, and love of all things mocha.

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