Archive for the ‘mug/tankard’ Category

Chinese mug with metal handle, c.1780

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

This bell-shaped footed porcelain mug was made in China in the late 1700s for export to Europe and North America. It is painted in the Famille Rose palette with polychrome enamels and depicts a domestic scene with family members gathered around a large green table. I particularly like the porcelain teapot and cups on the table, as well as vases and garden seats nearby. It measures 6.25 inches tall and 4.5 inches across the top.

At some point in this mug’s early life something went awry. We will never know for sure if a scullery maid, a small child or a cat knocked over the mug, causing the handle to snap off. But rather than toss out the broken pieces, the owner brought them to a clever chap who made a simple bronze replacement handle. Many years later the handle was painted white, and now is discolored a sickly yellow. I am tempted to strip off the offensive veneer to reveal the rich bronze color beneath, but for now I will keep it as is.

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

Photo courtesy of The Saleroom

Chinese mug with multiple repairs, c.1750

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

This bell-shaped footed porcelain mug was made in China in the mid 1700s. It has floral decoration in the Famille Rose palette and stands 5.5 inches tall.

It appears that someone literally loved this mug to pieces. I imagine that the person who dropped it must have been heartbroken, watching it tumble to the ground where it suffered multiple breaks, chips, and cracks. The early metal repairs, done over 150 years ago, included a band along the rim to stabilize cracks, braces on the handle, and rivets to reinforce four symmetrical chips. Much how time can mend a broken heart, a skilled restorer did an excellent yet eccentric job with this mug break-up.

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Mandarin mug to jug transformation, c.1840

Monday, February 15th, 2016

This is one of the more unusual transformation pieces I have in my collection. Much like the butterfly painted on the reverse side, it began life as one thing and transformed into something entirely different. I call it a metamorphosis mug. Made between 1830 and 1850, this Chinese export porcelain mug in the Famille Rose Mandarin palette was converted to a milk jug with the addition of a silver spout. It has two decorated panels, one with a courtyard scene and the other with images of exotic birds, butterflies, fruits and flowers. It stands 4-1/2 inches high and is 5-1/2 inches wide from handle to spout.

The silver mount has an 1871 London hallmark. Although I have many examples of silver spouts, handles and lids, it is rare to find hallmarks that date and place a repair. I particularly like the ornate sparrow beak spout.

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This mug was happy being a mug and felt no need to spread its wings and become a jug.

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Photo courtesy of Mimi’s Antiques

Mocha ware tavern mug, c.1850

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

This small cylinder form mocha ware tavern mug was made in England in the mid-1800s and stands just 4 inches tall. It is decorated with blue & black bands and a broad teal ground with a bold seaweed pattern.

I’m guessing that the original handle of this mug broke off during a particularly rough bar room brawl. Luckily, a local tinker, sometime in the third quarter of the 19th century, was able to bring it back to life by adding an iron replacement handle with support bands.

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Similar mocha ware mugs and jugs can be seen on the bottom shelf behind the counter in this late 19th century photo.

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Photo courtesy of Martyn Edgell

This is what the original loop handle on my mug would have looked like prior to the brawl.

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Photo courtesy of The Antique Dispensary

Child’s transferware proverb mug, c.1820

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

It’s obvious why there are so many early children’s ceramics with inventive repairs. Before the invention of bakelite and plastic, children used smaller versions of adult sized ceramics, and their little hands could barely hold these fragile vessels, especially when filled with hot liquids. So could you really blame these poor innocents when many a mug, plate and glass slipped away, ending up shattered on the floor?

This child’s mug is clearly titled with the 16th century English proverb “MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES” and has brown transfer decoration of a farming scene with a pink lustre ring along the rim. It was made in the Staffordshire region of England in the first quarter of the 19th century and measures 2.25 inches high. After the handle broke off, it was taken to a tinker who fashioned an ear shaped metal replacement handle and support bands. A triangular piece from another cup was patched in along the top to replace a lost chip. In my humble opinion, the repairs add character to this wounded survivor, making it much more interesting than a “perfect” one.

This mug with identical form and decoration shows what the original handle on mine would have looked like before it took a tumble.

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Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

Bohemian milch glass mug, c.1750

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

This 18th century Milch Glass mug with hand painted polychrome hunting scene of a stage pursued by a dog was made in central Europe in the 18th century and measures 6-1/4″  high.

After this mug was dropped, breaking into two pieces, it was most likely taken to an itinerant china mender who repaired it using 16 metal staples of various sizes. It is more common to find ceramics repaired with staples or rivets, but skilled repairers drilled through glass as well.

“Bohemia was also renowned for ‘milch glass’ or milk glass, and tumblers, mugs, bottles and such things made of it were decorated with Watteau scenes and floral designs. The technique is often good, but the shapes are generally clumsy and the decoration insipid.” From The Glass Collector: A Guide to Old English Glass by MacIver Perciva, 1919.

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Here’s another example of Milch Glass with similar form and decoration.

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Photo courtesy of Andrew Dando

Florence Upton decorated child’s mug, c.1905

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

This English child’s mug, boldly decorated with characters created by illustrator and author Florence Kate Upton (February 22, 1873 – October 16, 1922), is made of porcelain and measures 2-3/4″ high. Her ubiquitous Dutch Dolls and Golly characters are represented here with strong graphics and in full color. The underside has an embossed lithophane image of a girl and boy, visible only when held up to the light. The printed registration mark on the underside dates this mug to 1905.

Second only to the Teddy Bear, the Golly was the most popular toy in Europe in the early 1900s. Although Upton wrote Golly as a lovable, benign character, the image and original name Gollywog eventually became a controversial figure, sparking outrage. Without a patent, other manufacturers copied the likeness and portrayed the character as lazy and evil, becoming a negative symbol and an embarrassment to the black community. The Guardian wrote an article in 2009, “From bedtime story to ugly insult: how Victorian caricature became a racist slur”, explaining the controversy.

Perhaps, during an all-doll tea party, the fragile mug was dropped by its young owner and the handle snapped off. Rather than being tossed out, the broken mug was taken to a china mender who reattached the handle using two metal cuffs and rivets. I am surprised that I don’t come across more examples of early repairs on children’s items, as I imagine many tiny hands had trouble grasping the precious ceramic toys they were given to play with, long before the invention of plastic.

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Napoleonic War commemorative mug, c.1814

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

I am a big fan of commemorative pottery, particularly ones with strong graphics and bright colors. Whenever I spot an example from afar in a shop, I secretly hope that it has some sort of inventive repair. Sometimes I get lucky. This creamware mug with printed transfer and hand colored decoration boasts the message “Peace of Europe Signed at Paris May 30, 1814.” Made in 1814 by Bristol Pottery in England to celebrate the signing of the peace treaty marking the end of war with France, this mug measures 4-3/4″ tall and 5-1/4″ wide to end of handle. Check out the details in photos showing the Bristol Pottery mark, the factory in the background, and ships with wood crates no doubt filled with pottery for export.

This mug possesses numerous battle scars, including chips, cracks, and the loss of its original loop handle. After the handle broke off, a 19th century tinker replaced it by drilling through the body and attaching a metal replacement with two square fasteners. To add insult to injury, the replacement handle is covered in rust, a result of further neglect. But if this mug were in “perfect” condition, I would not have purchased it.

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This example, with different copy and overglaze coloring, can be found in the collection of the British Museum in London.

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Masonic creamware mug, c.1800

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

This cylindrical form creamware mug was made by Herculaneum Pottery in Liverpool, England, circa 1800. I am a sucker for bold graphics so you can understand why I like this mug so much. It is covered with black transfer decoration of Masonic symbols and stands 5 inches high, with an opening of 3-1/2 inches.

What makes this early mug so special to me is the sturdy silver replacement handle. Although unmarked, it appears to have been made by a silversmith in the early 20th century. An elaborate silver mounting system was devised to hold the new handle in place by mounting it to a broad plate and attaching it to a rim and base. The choice to mount the replacement handle, as opposed to drill through the body and bolt on a new handle, may have saved the mug from possible leakage and more damage. Typically, I do not polish metal repairs, as I feel the darkened patina adds to the overall appearance of the piece. I like how the tarnished silver is close to the color of the printed decoration, enhancing this clever repair even more.

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This mug with the same form and decoration shows what my mug would have looked like with its original handle intact.

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Photo courtesy of Bramfords

Chinese export armorial mug, c.1785

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

This sturdy Chinese export porcelain mug dates from the Qianlong period (1736-1795) and has floral decoration and a pseudo armorial cipher/monogram hand painted in the famille rose palette. The mug stands 6-1/2″  high and holds 2 pints of liquid. I am surprised that the entwined handle survived 230 years of use, as they are fragile and are often found broken.

Now, you may wonder “where’s the repair?” The unsigned sterling silver mount along the top with engraved decoration serves a dual purpose. It stabilizes a long vertical crack running the entire length and most likely masks chips along the rim. A beautiful solution which further enhances an already lovely piece.

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This mug is almost identical in form and decoration but does not have the silver rim that mine has.

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Photo courtesy of eBay