Archive for the ‘anecdotal’ Category

A tribute to Don Carpentier (1951-2014)

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

I met Don Carpentier in 2012 when he asked me to give a lecture and show examples from my collection of antiques with inventive repairs. From the moment I entered the Brigadoon-esque Eastfield Village, his paradise on earth, we immediately hit it off and discovered we had many friends and interests in common. Don was one of my biggest supporters and was always there for me to help identify unusual pieces, show me how to detect fraudulent repairs (some made by his own students!) and cheer me on during my very first lecture.

A glimpse of Eastfield Village, consisting of over 20 buildings from the late 18th to early 19th century, including a pottery studio, print shop, blacksmith shop, tinker shop, doctor’s office, tavern, general store, and church. Each building was found within a 50 mile radius of Don’s home and was disassembled piece by piece, brick by brick, and reassembled on his property.

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Don helping me set up for my first lecture at Dish Camp, 2012.

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This pressed glass master salt with a make-do wood replacement base was given to me by Don as a token of thanks for my participation as a lecturer.

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Don making a tin handle during the first Making Make-Do’s workshop in 2013.

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The finished product, which I proudly display in my farmhouse.

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Two examples of Don’s reinvention of mochaware, using the original molds and techniques of the 19th century. The bowl on the right was a wedding gift given to me by my mother last October.

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This past June I participated in the second Making Make-Do’s workshop and made a tin lid for my Worcester teapot. I was helped by (left to right) Olof Jansson, William McMillen, and Don.

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Thank you Don for sharing your enthusiasm, knowledge, and friendship. Words can not express how much you will be missed by those close to you and by the antiques world in general.

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Making make-do’s in Eastfield Village, part 2

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

I gave a lecture and participated in a workshop, “Period Make-Do’s and How to Reproduce Them,” this past Monday at Don Carpentier’s Historic Eastfield Village in East Nassau, NY. My friend Bibiana also participated in the workshop and took these photos of my presentation and of our work. Instructors included Master Tinsmith William McMillen, expert Blacksmith and Tinsmith Olof Jansson, and Master of all trades Don Carpentier, who guided us through completing handmade tin replacement lids for my Worcester teapot and Bibiana’s banded mocha ware mug.

This was my second workshop on the art of repairing antiques with antique tools and employing the same methods as those of Early American tradesmen. I am eager to continue my education in the craft of tinsmithing and learn more about how my great-grandfather, a Philadelphia tinsmith, most likely created a number of household items with inventive repairs of his own.

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Photos courtesy of Bibiana Famolare Heymann

Make-Do workshop at Historic Eastfield Village

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Please join me for a two-day workshop, PERIOD MAKE-DO’S AND HOW TO REPRODUCE THEM, at Don Carpentier’s Historic Eastfield Village104 Mud Pond Rd, East Nassau NY 12062, on June 9th & 10th. Under the guidance of experienced instructors, you will learn early methods of restoration and create your own make-do repairs on damaged pieces you bring in. In addition, I will be there to show examples from my collection, so please join us for a fun and informative workshop. And make sure you check out the schedule for other workshops throughout the summer, including “Dish Camp”, a 3 day ceramics lalapalooza which must not be missed!

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Photos by Mark Randall

Inventive repairs at the Ashmolean Museum

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Last week I took a day trip to Oxford and made a beeline to the Ashmolean Museum, Britain’s oldest public museum, which houses a world renowned collection of ceramics. Much to my delight, it also contains dozens of examples of porcelain and pottery with distinctly different types of early repairs. Amongst the “perfect” ceramics on display, and the ones with obvious repairs and replacement parts, are many examples with metal mounts, which I will tackle in a future post.

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V&A Ceramics Galleries

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

I spent many hours wandering the ceramics galleries on the top floor of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, searching for examples of ceramics with inventive repairs. The refurbished galleries opened in 2009/10 and are filled with over 30,000 of examples of ceramics in floor to ceiling glass cases. The last time I was at the V&A the original wooden showcases were still in use and I took photos and made notes of the pieces that interested me. Now there are monitors in every room with photos and descriptions of the entire collection available online. The transformation of the old galleries to the current design is so dramatic that I think I gasped out loud when I stepped off of the elevator on to the 6th floor and saw the seemingly endless rows of vitrines for the first time!

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What the Dickens?

Monday, April 7th, 2014

I am back at my hotel in Notting Hill, resting up after taking on the National Gallery, the British Museum, and the Charles Dickens Museum all in one day. Needless to say, I spotted many a “make-do” at the two large institutions, but I was surprised to find a 19th century cut crystal and silver ewer with staple repairs to the base hiding in plain sight in Charles Dickens’ dining room!

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English Ceramic Circle lecture, London

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

I was invited to give a talk and show examples from my collection this past Thursday, April 3rd, at the English Ceramic Circle (ECC) at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London. The ECC was founded in 1927 and is “the oldest society dedicated to the study of British ceramics and enamels.” Thankfully, the lecture was well attended and I enjoyed meeting many members, as well as viewing pieces from their own collections, that they were encouraged to bring in.

I was introduced by ECC president Roger Massey, who explained to the crowd that he was made aware of my blog a few years ago by a ceramics dealer. He was told about a “mad American” (crazy, not angry, I assume) who collects antiques with early repairs and that he should have a look. Roger apologized to me about the remark but I rather like it!  After the talk I was invited to dinner and chatted with other members, including Nicholas Panes, Honorary Treasurer.

Thank you ECC for your warm welcome, and a special thanks to Stephen McManus who extended the invitation. I look forward to becoming a member of your marvelous society.

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Photos by Mark Randall

Inventive repairs at the Rijksmuseum

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Past Imperfect goes international, as I am in Amsterdam, the first stop of my European jaunt and research tour. I have just returned from spending a few hours at the gorgeously renovated Rijksmuseum, home of world renowned art and a collection of exquisite Dutch ceramics. While most pieces I saw were jaw-dropping, they appeared to be intact and had in fact, not been dropped at all. So, no inventive repairs for me to drool over. But I did see one 17th century jug with a metal sleeve covering a broken handle, but the repaired end was turned away from the front of the vitrine, so no one could see it…except for me. Sadly, it was too dark to get a good photo of it.

I did spot this early Delft bowl with religious decoration that was just sitting on a shelf without any mention of the HUGE, early metal staples holding it together. Yes, I thought you’d like it, too.

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I also stumbled upon a wonderful oil painting, Prince’s Day by Jan Havicksz Steen (1625-1679), depicting the birthday celebration of Prince William III of Orange-Nassau on November 14, 1650. I always imagined that many a “perfect” jug and tankard became candidates for inventive repairs after long days and nights of rowdy celebration. If you look closely, you can see a barmaid holding a jug in her right hand with what appears to have a replaced pewter handle and support straps along the middle and bottom. I have seen repairs such as this on German jugs of the same time period, so I was excited to see it included in this painting.

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This coming Thursday, April 3rd, at 6PM, I will be giving a lecture in London at Bonhams for the English Ceramic Circle. Please come see me and say hello.

The New York Ceramics Fair, 2014

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Yesterday I braved the freezing cold weather and made my yearly trek up north to check out the 15th annual New York Ceramics Fair. I enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones, as well as spotting these gems with inventive repairs.

Martyn Edgell Antiques Ltd. brought a stunning collection of colorful mochaware pieces. Sadly for me, they were all in perfect condition. But this important Delft wine pot with blue Chinese decoration from 1680 has an unusual 18th century figural metal replacement spout strapped on to a metal ring around the base.

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Martyn also brought this English salt glaze jug with copper lid, circa 1700. The tin base appears to have been added by a 19th century tinker to stabilize the jug and possibly cover chips along the bottom.

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I stopped dead in my tracks when I came upon this enormous 18th century Whieldon-type pottery punch pot, courtesy of Earle Vandekar of Knightsbridge Inc., with gorgeous trailing vines decoration and tortoise shell glaze. Naturally, my favorite feature is the sleek silver replacement spout, which mirrors the shape of the broken original.

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In the same booth I found this lovely 18th century Wieldon-type footed teapot, also with trailing vines decoration and tortoise shell glaze. This piece has two early repairs – a silver replacement spout and an overscaled urn-shaped knob. It looks especially appealing displayed next to the much larger punch pot above.

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A New Year’s toast

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Wishing you all the best for a very happy and healthy 2014!

Cheers, Andrew

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