Chinese mug with large replacement handle, c.1770

February 25th, 2018

This cylindrical form porcelain mug was made in China during the third quarter of the eighteenth century. It is decorated in the Nanking pattern with trees, birds, pagodas and boats, using cobalt blue underglaze enamel. It measures 4.75 inches high with a 3.5 inch opening.

It appears that this mug has a story to tell, as its original strap handle has gone astray and is now fitted with a rusty iron replacement. Perhaps a bar room brawl resulted in the loss, or someone dropped the mug while clearing the table, or during a wash-up. We may never know for sure how the deed was done but I am thankful the owner had the good sense to have a tinker replace the handle, rather than throw out the broken mug. Isn’t it remarkable that this chipped survivor from 250 years ago is still able to engaging us and stir our imaginations?

This mug with similar form and decoration shows what the original strap handle might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of eBay

Mansion form teapot with metal lid, c.1750

February 17th, 2018

This whimsical teapot in the form of a three-story Georgian mansion is made of saltglaze stoneware pottery. The molded decoration includes a coat of arms, guards, animals, vines, birds, a dancing couple, and a crane on a serpent’s head spout. It measures 5.75 inches high, 8 inches wide from handle to spout and was made in the Staffordshire region of England, circa 1750-1760.

After the original lid broke or went missing, an intricate tin replacement in the form of a shingled roof with a chimney as knob was made by a clever tinker. This is one of just a few replacement lids I have come across where the repairer copied the form of the original, and I am so glad that he (or she) did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Photo courtesy of eBay

Medium Sunderland jug “Great Australia”, c.1865

February 11th, 2018

This Dutch shape pearlware pottery jug was made in Sunderland, England, c.1860-1870. It has dark red transfer decoration of the sailing ship “Great Australia” on one side and verses on the other side and front, accented with washes of pink lustre, yellow, green, and blue. “Great Australia” was built for Messrs Baines & Co. in Liverpool and launched in Decemeber 1860. Jug measures 8 inches high and 9.5 inches from handle to spout.

The large metal replacement handle with finger grip, thumb support, and a wide horizontal band were done by a tinker in the 19th century. As these jugs were prone to constant wear and tear, it was not uncommon for handles to break off and be replaced. Larger towns and cities had local tinkers but if you lived in a smaller town or village, you would bring your broken household items to itinerant tinkers, who would travel from town to town and set up on the side of the road or in the town square.

I love finding make-do’s in multiples and was thrilled to find this jug, which is one of a pair. Even better, they match a large jug I purchased many years ago with a similar metal replacement handle, making the set, graduating in size, a trio. Take a look at Large Sunderland jug, c.1855 the largest jug I previously posted.

This jug of similar form and decoration shows what the original handle on mine would have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chinese basin bowl with 136 metal staples, c.1865

February 4th, 2018

This large porcelain bowl was made in China durning the Tongzhi period (1862–1874). It is decorated with warrior figures, a horse, an interior scene & flowers in the famille rose palette and measures 14.75 inches in diameter and is 4.75 inches high. Originally it would have been part of a set which most likely included a matching water jug.

But the true beauty for me lies on the underside. After the bowl broke into 2 pieces, a skilled and patient china mender used 136 metal staples, placed in pairs, to make this broken bowl whole again. The work is extraordinary and the repair is tight, making it usable. And as you can see in the last photo, Oscar demonstrates that it also makes for a comfortable cat bed.

Chinese porcelain milk jug, c.1765

January 28th, 2018

This baluster shaped milk jug with a molded spout was made in the style of European silver and decorated in the Famille Rose palette, using cobalt blue, green, puce, and iron-red enamels. It was made in China during the Qianlong period (1736-95) and measures 7 inches high.

Sometime in the late 1700s to middle 1800s, a metal handle wrapped in rattan was added, replacing the original broken one. To add insult to injury, the lid went missing at one point over the past 250+ years.  It’s too bad a replacement lid wasn’t made at the time the original one was lost. I may attempt to make a new one, that is if my tin making skills improve.

This milk jug with similar form shows what the original handle on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of ShangriLa

The New York Ceramics & Glass Fair, 2018

January 21st, 2018

This past week I made my yearly pilgrimage to the Bohemian National Hall on New York’s Upper East Side to attend the New York Ceramics & Glass Fair. As usual, I was not disappointed. In addition to seeing stunning examples of antique ceramics and glassware from around the globe, I found many examples of inventive repairs done by contemporary ceramic artists. Leslie Ferrin of Ferrin Contemporary is a champion of artists exploring exciting new methods of repairs and creating assemblages using repurposed ceramics. Below are some of the artists she represents, as well as others exhibiting at the fair.

Steven Young Lee, Gourd Vases with Dodos, 2018. Steven made a pair of “perfect” vases and then deliberately deconstructed them, with dramatic results.

Paul Scott, The Garden Series, Tower Buddleia, 2015 and The Syria Series No: 8, Damascus, 2017. Both pieces use Japanese kintsugi (“golden joinery”) as a design element.

Stephen Bowers, Camouflage Plates, 2016. I particularly love the trompe l’oeil metal staples on the top plate.

A new addition to the fair is Michael Wainwright, an artist who designed the Mezza Collection with his own interpretation of the art of Kintsugi.

Black basalt Wedgwood teapot, c.1920

January 14th, 2018

This small squat black basalt teapot has raised classical sprig decoration. It was made in England in the first quarter of the 1900s and measures 3.5 inches high and 6.25 inches from handle to spout. On the underside are the incised marks WEDGWOOD, 42, 10, SW.

Typical of an enormous number of 18th and 19th century teapots from all around the globe, metal spouts were attached to replace damaged ones, or to insure that undamaged spouts would remain so. Many were made of tin but some, such as this, were made of silver.

Sadly, the knob on the lid broke off during shipping. Of course I could just glue it back on but I think I’d rather see a silver replacement to match the spout in its place.

This identical teapot has its original spout.

wedgwood teapot

Photo courtesy of eBay

Make-Dos at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

January 6th, 2018

Last week I spent a few frigid days in Montreal, Canada, and stumbled upon a few make-dos hiding in plain sight at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art.

Scars (suture) Jar by Tamsin van Essen, 2007. Glazed earthenware.

Bottle, Iran, 2nd half of 17th-early 18th c. Frit body, overglaze lustre decoration, blue glaze. Later metal replacement neck.

Jug, Germany, c.1595. Salt-glazed stoneware, pewter lid with later pewter repairs.

Happy Holidays!

December 24th, 2017

Wishing you all the best for the holidays and hoping 2018 is all it’s cracked up to be!

Blue & white transferware dish, c.1830

December 17th, 2017

This serving dish was made in England by Wedgwood, c.1830. It is decorated with a blue transfer scene depicting buildings, ships, trees, and overscaled flowers along the border. On the underside is the stamped mark “WEDGWOOD’S STONE CHINA”. It measures 9 inches square.

Well over 100 years ago when this dish broke in half, it was brought to a “china mender” who repaired it using 12 metal staples, aka rivets. Originally it had a cover but I am guessing that when it took a tumble the lid was broken beyond repair. But at least the more functional piece survived and thanks to the handiwork of a 19th century restorer, this dish can still be used today.

 

This covered dish of similar form and decoration still has its original cover.

dish

Photo courtesy of eBay