Archive for August, 2017

“Andy’s Make-Do’s” drawing by Robert de Michiell, c.1996

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

Robert de Michiell was not only an immensely talented illustrator and theatrical poster designer, he was a dear friend, who sadly passed away in 2015 at the young age of 57. Luckily for those of us who knew and loved him, as well as his many fans and admirers, he left behind a large body of work, including covers for The New Yorker, celebrity portraits featured in Entertainment Weekly and The New York Times, and posters for dozens of Broadway musicals and plays.

Robert had a wicked, dry sense of humor and would frequently fax over (this was MANY years ago) doodles and cartoons commenting on daily interactions with his friends. One day in the summer of 1996, I was telling Bob about one of my recent make-do finds, when moments later, this cartoon came through on my fax machine.

This drawing, and several others Bob created for me, are a wonderful reminder of his friendship and talent. Although I still miss him everyday, a quick glance at his artwork assures me that his spirit will always be with me.

London shape Coalport teapot, c.1812

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

This stately London shape porcelain teapot was made by the Coalport Porcelain Works of England, c.1812. It has a linear pattern in gold with red accents of birds perched on the branches of a fantastical tree, complete with a nest resembling an upturned straw boater hat. It measures 6.5 inches high and 10 inches from handle to spout.

Naturally, I prefer the side riddled with 21 metal staples, as I feel they add a layer of unintentional whimsy to the printed pattern beneath. The final photo shows the teapot on display at the exhibit Make-Do’s: Curiously Repaired Antiques, on view now through October 1 at Boscobel House and Gardens. Come see it, along with hundreds of other examples from my collection of antiques with inventive repairs.

 

Blue transfer printed pearlware jug, c.1825

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

This Dutch form pottery jug with pearlware glaze and sparrow beak spout was made in England in the first quarter of the 19th century. Standing nearly 4.25 inches high and 5.75 inches from handle to spout, it has blue transfer decoration, combining a pastoral scene with a shepherd, ancient ruins, and a lush border of flowers and fruit along the rim.

Well over 100 years ago, the original loop handle became detached and immediate surgery was needed. Luckily for the jug and its owner, a tinker made a metal replacement handle and bolted it to the jug. To help mask the repair, the new handle was painted blue and white to match the existing decoration. Curiously, a hole on the side was filled with lead, much like a cavity in a tooth. Not the most elegant repair job I have seen but it certainly does the trick.

This jug with similar form and decoration shows what my jug might have looked like before its accident.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 10.26.03 AM

Photo courtesy of eBay