Chinese teapot with wicker handle, c.1760

April 22nd, 2018

This globular form porcelain teapot was made in China, c.1750-1770, where it was decorated with flowers and leaves in blue under glaze. Soon after it was exported to the Netherlands, ceramics with simple blue and white decoration fell out of favor, and more colorful designs were the new trend. To keep up with the demand, this teapot was overpainted with birds and flowers in red, green, black, and gold enamels. Amsterdams Bont (colorful [work] from Amsterdam) is the term used to describe this form of decoration. Pieces with overpainted decoration done in England at around the same time are referred to as being clobbered. Teapot measures 4.75 inches high, 6.5 inches from handle to spout.

As if the skittish overpainted decoration isn’t enough for me, this teapot has an unusual woven wicker replacement handle and straps, which make it a grand slam. I have only come across a handful of entirely woven repairs/replacements, which were most likely done by basket makers, rather than tinkers or jewelers. Take a look at these other examples with similarly woven handles: Large jug with woven handle, c.1820 and Pearlware blue & white cream jug, c.1820.

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

Photo courtesy of M. Ford Creech

Revive, Remix, Respond at The Frick Pittsburgh

April 15th, 2018

Last weekend I attended the exhibit Revive, Remix, Respond: Contemporary Ceramic Artists and The Frick Pittsburgh. It was curated by Associate Curator of Decorative Arts, Dawn Brean and included works by Bouke de Vries, Stephen Bowers, Steven Young Lee, and Paul Scott.

The exhibit features work by 19 artists responding to pieces in the Frick Pittsburgh’s collection. Here are a few examples by ceramic artists who embrace the art of inventive repair or repurposing.

Bouke de Vries

Steven Young Lee

Stephen Bowers

Chinese tea canister, c.1700

April 8th, 2018

This porcelain tea canister is simply stunning. It was made in China during the Kangxi period (1662-1722) and is decorated with blue underglaze enamel depicting mountainous landscapes on both sides. The ends are painted with flowers among jagged rocks. It measures 4.75 inches high, 3 inches wide, 2 inches deep.

It is unusual to find tea canisters with their original lids so I am not surprised that this one has a metal replacement. Then again, if it had its original lid I would not have bought it! Having seen dozens of tea canisters with replacement lids made from various materials including silver, tin, and wood, I find this simple cylindrical bronze replacement the perfect topper.

This tea canister with similar form and decorations shows what the original lid might have looked like on mine.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Happy Easter & Passover!

April 1st, 2018

A few staples should take care of that.

Mocha ware jug with wavy slip decoration, c.1830

March 25th, 2018

This pearlware pottery jug is decorated with cream colored wavy parallel white slip lines and dots on wide blue bands. It was most likely made in England, circa 1830. It stands 7 inches high and is 9.5 inches from handle to spout.

Many things make this jug special, including the free spirit decoration and the wonderful tin replacement handle with thumb and finger grips. An added bonus is that it was once owned by the Master of Mocha, Jonathan Rickard, who purchased it in New Hampshire about 8 years ago. Jonathan wrote Mocha and Related Dipped Wares, 1770-1939, the preeminent book on the subject. I was fortunate to buy 4 pieces from his renowned collection and will post the remaining 3 in the coming months.

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

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Brass kerosene oil lamp, c.1900

March 18th, 2018

This small kerosene oil lamp has a brass reservoir joined to a square metal base using a hand carved wood conical stem. I found it in a small New England antiques shop a few years ago and although it is unmarked, I believe it to be American. It stands 8.75 inches tall and the base measures nearly 4 inches square.

Lamps such as this were commonly used worldwide, from the mid 1800s through the mid 1900s. They were sturdy and made to last so I am puzzled by what caused this one to become unhinged. The replacement stem appears to be a home made job, and although practical, it is less than elegant.

This brass oil lamp with similar form has all of its parts and shows what the original base on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

Riveted Chinese Imari plate, c.1760

March 4th, 2018

This porcelain plate was made in China during the Qianlong period (1736-95) and measures nearly 9 inches in diameter. It has a central motif of branches and flowers in the Japanese Imari palette of cobalt blue underglaze with red and gold overglaze washes. A fine plate, in my humble opinion, but not an extraordinary example by any means.

But…when the plate is turned over, the true beauty and the reason that I purchased it for my collection, is revealed. 34 small brass staples, seen only on the underside, clamp together the 8 broken pieces as tight as when the repair was done, over 200 years ago. Even though stapling, aka riveting, is the most common form of inventive repair, I still marvel at examples such as this. And naturally, I would proudly display it with the “wrong” side out.

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