Archive for the ‘plate/platter’ Category

Mounted Kangxi dish, c.1750

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

This porcelain dish was made in China for export to Europe in the middle 1700s. It is decorated with figures in blue, red, green, and black enamels and measures 8 inches long, including the mount, with a diameter of 4.25 inches.

Not only was this dish repaired on the underside using 4 metal staples, each .25 inches long, but a fragment from another piece was added to the ornate bronze rococo mount. Please take a look at an earlier post with a similar porcelain dish and bronze mount: Kanji period dish, c.1700.

 

“Disgrace is Worse than Death” armorial plate, c.1755

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

This octagonal porcelain armorial plate measures 8.5 inches in diameter and was made in China for export to England in the mid 1700s. It has floral decoration in the famille rose palette with gilt highlights and features a prominent coat of arms. It was part of a large dinnerware service, consisting of hundreds of matching pieces, each with the same hand painted decoration.

After this once broken plate was repaired with 4 sturdy metal staples over 200 years ago, it was most likely weeded out from the rest of the set later in its life by an antiques dealer who didn’t want imperfect pieces mingling with untarnished ones. I found the plate at a small antiques fair in London a few years ago and brought it back with me to New York City, where it now coexists with other former orphans, each scarred but accepted for their imperfections.

From Chinese Armorial Porcelain by David Sanctuary Howard, p.539:
“The arms, beneath a knight’s helm, are of Shard of Horsleydown in Surrey, Argent a bend sable, in chief a bugle horn of the last in base a stag’s head couped proper attire of the third; crest, A lion passant per pale or and sable guttee counterchanged, resting the dexter paw on a bugle horn of the second; impaling Clark of Sanford, Azure two bars or, on a chief of the last three escallops sable (see Clarke P22); motto ‘Pejus letho flagitium’ (‘Disgrace is worse than Death’).
These arms were borne by Sir Abraham Shard, of Kennington in Surrey, who died before this service was made in August 1746 (and from whom these arms the helm was probably copied). The service was probably made for his son or nephew or for another descendant of Sir Isaac Shard, whose daughter Martha married about 1710 Roger Hill (uncle of Abigail Lockey, third wife of Lewis Way – see Way with Lockey in pretence, P18).”

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This large serving platter is from the same dinnerware service as my plate. Too bad it doesn’t have early staple repairs.

Photo courtesy of Dubey’s Art & Antiques

Chinese Qianlong plate, c.1750

Friday, April 7th, 2017

This plate was made in China during the Qianlong period (1736–1795) for export to North America and Europe. It measures nearly 9.25 inches in diameter and is decorated in cobalt blue over a light blue ground.

Well over 225 years ago after the plate dropped and a large chunk along the rim broke off, it was taken to a china mender who reattached the broken pieces using metal staples. Hand marked in red on the underside is “Mrs. Lou Pearson”, which I assume is the name of the owner who brought the plate in for repair. Signed pieces such as this are uncommon and bring us one step closer to the mostly undocumented world of the men and women who did these marvelous, anonymous repairs.

French faience patriotique plate, c.1790

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

To commemorate the end of the French Revolution, post-revolutionaries planted trees to celebrate their freedom. This well-used earthenware faience patriotique plate with tin glaze was made in Nevers, France, in the late 1700s. It is made of red clay and decorated with polychrome enamels to emulate Chinese porcelain.  The Liberty Tree depicted here reflects the patriotism of the French.

The underside of this plate reveals even more history, as over a dozen rusted iron staples still hold the damaged plate together after it was shattered more than 200 years ago. Plaster was used to fill the gaps that were left surrounding the tiny holes. To me, the unintentional overall pattern made by the staples on the underside are just as interesting as the design made by the artist on the front of the plate.

 

The Kingman Tavern Museum mystery

Saturday, June 11th, 2016

In the small hamlet of Cummington, Massachusetts, home of the esteemed ceramics gallery Ferrin Contemporary, sits the Kingman Tavern Museum, a small historical museum overflowing with antiques of local interest, donated mainly by the town’s residents. The collection includes a full scale replica of an early 1900s country store, miniature rooms by artist Alice Steele, and vintage clothes, tools, and household items. Among them is a curious set of porcelain plates riddled with early staple repairs.

On a shelf sitting alongside a handful of innocuous-looking plates and tableware are two stacks of thick walled bowls and platters, each with pronounced staple repairs. The cobalt blue stylized rabbit pattern is unfamiliar to me but appears to be American, late 19th century, and perhaps restaurant china. No one associated with the museum seems to know anything about the set or how they got there. If anyone recognizes the pattern please let me know and help solve this mystery!

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Kintsugi repair, at last!

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

Ever since I started my blog, people have asked me when I was going to start showing examples of Japanese kintsugi. The definition of kintsugi has been interpreted as “golden joinery”, “golden repair” and “to repair with gold”. I have long been an admirer of the ancient art of repairing broken ceramics and glassware using urushi (lacquer) and real gold powder but wanted to learn more about it before discussing it here.

I recently completed classes given by Gen Saratani in Manhattan and learned first hand how to repair a chipped plate. We were told to bring in a ceramic object with a chip and I knew immediately which piece to bring in: a French plate made by Sarreguemines, c.1890, with a large old chip at the bottom. The transfer decoration depicts an itinerant “china mender” repairing a broken vase using staples, while a distraught client looks on. A sign above him proclaims “I mend with staple and without staple: alabaster, wood, tortoiseshell , marble, amber, ivory, crystal, glass, earthenware, porcelain!! That’s the mender and repairman.” Beside him are a few plates repaired with staples. Next to the sign is a poster with the title “THE BROKEN JUG” showing a lovely lady holding a jug. My favorite detail is a stapled plate with a heavy weight hanging from it, to show how strong his staple repairs are. I do not recommend trying this at home.

Here is my completed plate with the chip now filled with gold covered lacquer. I will discuss the step by step technique I learned in upcoming posts, as well as show rare examples I have found in museums.

Thanks to Gen Saratani for his excellent teaching skills and to archeologist Alban Ceramo Horry for translating the text on the plate.

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Chinese porcelain plate with staples, c.1710

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

This early 1700s hexagonal porcelain plate was made in China during the Kangxi Period (1662-1722). It has an unglazed hexagonal rim and foot rim, with a cobalt blue underglaze garden design and floral border. It  measures 9 inches in diameter.

After the plate took a tumble, it was put back together using three large metal staples, aka rivets, as well as an unusual pewter plug. Unlike the majority of the staple repairs I come across, the holes drilled to accommodate the staples go all the way through to the front, resulting in a nice dot pattern. With strong graphics appearing on the front and back of the plate, I deliberately display both sides.

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Stapled octagonal crab plate, c.1750

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Most people I encounter are astonished the first time they see broken ceramics held together with staples. I was, too, at a young age when I saw a small stapled dish. The first words uttered are typically “how did they do that?” If you type that very question into my search box on this page, a post from a few years ago will pop up and help answer that much asked question.

Sadly, most pieces repaired with staples, aka rivets, are not signed by the menders so we have no idea who repaired them. I have seen 18th century English and American newspaper advertisements and calling cards from tinkers and jewelers offering their repair services, as well as early prints showing “china menders” with their tools. Today, antique ceramics with staple repairs are not uncommon but many rare examples are quickly disappearing, as restorers will carefully remove staples, fill the holes and erase all evidence of the original “honest” repair. Although I have dozens of examples of early staple repair on a variety of forms, I still get a thrill when I encounter a rare or unusual example untouched by a modern restorer.

This porcelain plate was made in Jingdezhen, China, during the Qing dynasty (1740-1760) and measures 8-1/2″ in diameter. It is decorated in the Famille rose palette and features a large blue crab, crayfish, flowers, and a border with gilt detailing. Early in its life it was dropped, cleanly breaking it in half. An experienced china mender reattached the plate using six small evenly spaced brass staples. Repairs such as this are so tight and secure that the plate can be returned to the dinner table without fear of it coming undone. That is, unless another clumsy person lets it slip from his or her hands.

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Another example, nearly identical to mine, is in the permanent collection of the British Museum. It was donated in the 19th century by Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks, described by Marjorie Caygill, historian of the British Museum, as “arguably the most important collector in the history of the British Museum, and one of the greatest collectors of his age”.

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Photo courtesy of the British Museum

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Wishing you all the best during the holiday season and for a healthy and Happy New Year!

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Spanish tin glazed plate, c.1800

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

My friend Marianne gave us this lovely Spanish pottery plate, along with two other similar ones, as a wedding gift when we visited her in Brussels last spring. It is tin glazed with a polychrome design of a bird at center and a wide stylized floral border. The deep plate measures just over 14″  in diameter and was made in Spain at the turn of the 18th century. The enormous iron staples measure a whopping 1-1/4″  long and hold together the three broken pieces. Some of the staples have fallen out since they were first attached to the plate by an itinerant china mender over 150 years ago. At a much later date, metal wire was wrapped and clipped to the back of the plate to form a crude but effective hanging device.

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