Posts Tagged ‘silver’

Engraved goblet with Mining Scenes, c.1690

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

This superbly engraved blown wine glass was made in Nuremberg, Germany, c.1680-1700. It stands 10.5 inches high. The large bowl features finely engraved scenes of open-pit mining and a large coat of arms, believed to belong to one of the Counts of Mansfeld. The delicate stem is made up of a series of hollow knobs and rings and amazingly, has remained intact after knocking around for over 330 years. 

The foot was not so lucky. As would be expected of a large, fragile glass object such as this, the original glass foot broke off hundreds of years ago, and was fitted with an elegant hand hammered silver replacement. It is engraved with the name “Mansfeld”, the date “1530”, and in a tiny font “A.E. 12”. As Mansfeld, Germany was the center of silver mining for over 800 years, this magnificent goblet was most likely made by one of the Mansfeld families as a commemorative piece. 

As with almost everything from my collection, we will never know for sure how the piece broke, who repaired it, and what happened to it after it was reborn. I’m just glad that so many of them ended up in my collection and that I can share them with you.

This goblet from the same period shows what the original glass base on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Scottish Antiques

Felspatic stoneware jug, c.1820

Friday, January 11th, 2019

This Dutch shape stoneware jug with a moulded fox hunting scene was made in Staffordshire, England, perhaps by Chetham and Woolley. It dates from 1810 to 1830. The top portion is glazed in cobalt blue and the lower portion is unglazed. It measures 3.5 inches high and is unmarked. I particularly like the molded screws on the handle.

After the spout became badly chipped or broke off entirely, the jug was taken to a silversmith, who created a silver replacement spout. Though a bit squatter than the original most likely was, it is well made and more importantly, allowed the jug to function once again.

This jug of similar form shows what the original spout on my jug might have looked liked.

Photo courtesy of Paul Bohanna Antiques

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.

Miniature Westerwald stoneware jug with silver handle, c.1750

Sunday, July 29th, 2018

This tiny hand-thrown, salt glazed, baluster form stoneware jug with cobalt decoration was a mystery to me when I purchased it two years ago. I found it in Hawaii, of all places, and the dealer knew nothing about it. The unusual silver replacement handle with a hand hammered band, and what appears to be a coiled snake at the base, threw me off. These details gave off a 70s vibe – more 1970s than 1770s. After a bit of research I discovered I had a miniature Westerwald jug, made in Germany around 1750 and possibly earlier. It stands just 3.5 inches high.

Not all miniatures were made for children to play with. Some were made by potters as souvenirs, while others were made possibly as salesmen samples. As with most pieces from my collection, we will never know how the original handle broke off. But it appears that the original owner must have truly treasured this tiny tank, as it was brought to a silversmith who fashioned a splendid silver replacement handle. Thank you to the unknown artist who transformed a broken jug into a unique conversation piece that has lasted over 250 years…and counting.

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

Photo courtesy of ebay

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

Wedgwood barrel-form teapot, c.1780

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

This basalt stoneware barrel-form teapot was made in England by Wedgwood, and in production from 1780 to 1790. It measures 3.5 inches high and 6 inches wide from handle to spout. The underside has the impressed mark “WEDGWOOD, Z, 1x”, and “B257” is hand painted in gold on the underside of the teapot and its lid.

Sadly for some but happily for me, over 200 years ago this small teapot slipped from the hands of someone who must have cherished it and the spout broke off. It was taken to a jeweler or tinker who replaced it with a silver spout on a scalloped plate. I have many examples of spouts with the same design, so I assume they were made in bulk by jewelers to have on hand, ready to be popped on to similarly damaged teapots. The lid’s knob broke off at a later date but was not replaced. I am hoping one day to make my own replacement knob of the same design, perhaps in silver to match the spout.

This undamaged teapot shows what the original spout and Sibyl-form knob looked like before they were damaged.

Photo from British Teapots & Tea Drinking by Robin Emmerson.

Toby figural pepper pot, c.1870

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

This 5 inch tall figural pepper pot (also known as a caster or muffineer) in the form of Sir Toby Philpott, wears a tricorn hat and grasps a tankard of ale in one hand and a tobacco pipe in the other. It was made in Staffordshire, England, in the late 1800s, of polychrome glazed pottery and is part of a four-piece caster (also known as a cruet or condiment) set, which includes a mustard, salt, and vinegar.

This Toby originally stood on a round plinth base, which he jumped off of (or fell, or was pushed) at least 100 years ago. In its place is a nicely crafted silver replacement base, lending an air of elegance to this robust fellow.

This chap stands on his original base, although the crack at the bottom leads me to believe that he might be heading to the silversmith soon to be fitted for his own silver replacement base.

Photo courtesy of The Antique Shop

Chinese dollhouse snuff bottle, c.1700

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

I seem to have a thing for miniatures. I marvel at the craftsmanship of creating tiny versions of larger pieces, which requires more time and skill, as well as good eyesight and nimble fingers. When I was at a street market in Egypt many years ago, I saw hundreds of lanterns made of tin and painted glass. One vendor had minuscule working lanterns, no more than 3 inches, which held tiny birthday cake candles. Even though they were a fraction of the size of the other lanterns, they were the same price and took just as long to make, if not longer.

So you can imagine how I was doubly thrilled when I found this miniature porcelain dollhouse snuff bottle with an inventive repair. It was made in China during the Kangxi period (1662-1722), has blue underglaze decoration of figures, and measures 2.75 inches tall. But there’s more to the story, as this bottle started its life as a vase. Well over 150 years ago, after its neck broke off, a silversmith added a silver collar with etched decoration, cork, and a top attached to a spoon, transforming the broken vase into a functional snuff bottle. It has a sword shaped Dutch hallmark dating the repair to the mid-1800s.

I now have five tiny Chinese dollhouse miniatures in my collection and try not to inhale too deeply around them.

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This pair of miniature vases with similar form and decoration show what the original neck on my vase looked like before it was transformed into a snuff bottle.

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Photo courtesy of Santos

Chinese teapot with butterflies, c.1780

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

This porcelain globular-form footed teapot was made in China in the late 1700s and is decorated in the famille rose palette with flowers, butterflies, and a diaper pattern border along the rim and on the lid. It measures 4 inches high.

A sturdy metal spout stands at attention, replacing the original porcelain one that was damaged. At a later date, a metal chain was attached to keep the lid from going astray. I have numerous metal replacement spouts just like this and feel that repairers had a stock of them on hand to be attached to damaged teapots. Look for an upcoming post where I compare and contrast similarly made replacement spouts.

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This teapot, with similar form and decoration, shows what the original spout on mine may have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of 1stdibs

Not a make-do, part two

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

“We learn from failure, not from success!” Bram Stoker, Dracula

Well said, Mr. Stoker. Over the years, I have purchased a handful of items which, at the time, appeared to have inventive repairs. But upon closer inspection, I discovered they were not make-do’s. Here are a few of my mistakes that I eventually grew to love and even learned something from.

During a trip to Amsterdam a few years ago I purchased four glasses with silver bases at an antiques market. I was surprised to find over a dozen pieces with similar silver repairs all in one place. Assured by the dealer that the bases were indeed replacements and not original to the glassware, I bought a few of them, even though I was still not entirely convinced of his claim. Upon returning home, I began to research them extensively and after hours of digging deep into the depths of Google, came up with nothing. Months later, I accidentally stumbled upon a similar piece for sale in Amsterdam. After contacting the shop, Valentijn Antiek, and asking for information regarding this specific type of “repair”, I was told that these were not repaired pieces. The dealer went on to tell me that they were and still are being made by contemporary jewelers. I was told “For clarification, you should know something about the (Dutch) national character: The Dutch are and were very frugal. A repair, for example, crystal, should not cost too much. Objects are restored only in case 1) there is not as quick as possible a replacement; 2) the material of the object is expensive and scarce; 3) it is a precious object, because it is a reminder; or because one has received it from someone (like your mother in law) with whom you do not want to have to get a quarrel.”

This delicate champagne flute is the first piece I bought. I still find it hard to believe that its silver base is not an inventive repair.

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This goblet has a nicely detailed silver base. It also had me fooled.

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I was a bit more skeptical of these two, which appear to be from the 1960s. Their silver bases do look intentional.

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I recently found this sharply cut small footed dish at an antiques shop in New Jersey. Although my gut was telling me that the hallmarked silver base was not a replacement I purchased it anyway. It seems that old habits die hard.

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