Chinese porcelain milk jug, c.1765

January 28th, 2018

This baluster shaped milk jug with a molded spout was made in the style of European silver and decorated in the Famille Rose palette, using cobalt blue, green, puce, and iron-red enamels. It was made in China during the Qianlong period (1736-95) and measures 7 inches high.

Sometime in the late 1700s to middle 1800s, a metal handle wrapped in rattan was added, replacing the original broken one. To add insult to injury, the lid went missing at one point over the past 250+ years.  It’s too bad a replacement lid wasn’t made at the time the original one was lost. I may attempt to make a new one, that is if my tin making skills improve.

This milk jug with similar form shows what the original handle on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of ShangriLa

The New York Ceramics & Glass Fair, 2018

January 21st, 2018

This past week I made my yearly pilgrimage to the Bohemian National Hall on New York’s Upper East Side to attend the New York Ceramics & Glass Fair. As usual, I was not disappointed. In addition to seeing stunning examples of antique ceramics and glassware from around the globe, I found many examples of inventive repairs done by contemporary ceramic artists. Leslie Ferrin of Ferrin Contemporary is a champion of artists exploring exciting new methods of repairs and creating assemblages using repurposed ceramics. Below are some of the artists she represents, as well as others exhibiting at the fair.

Steven Young Lee, Gourd Vases with Dodos, 2018. Steven made a pair of “perfect” vases and then deliberately deconstructed them, with dramatic results.

Paul Scott, The Garden Series, Tower Buddleia, 2015 and The Syria Series No: 8, Damascus, 2017. Both pieces use Japanese kintsugi (“golden joinery”) as a design element.

Stephen Bowers, Camouflage Plates, 2016. I particularly love the trompe l’oeil metal staples on the top plate.

A new addition to the fair is Michael Wainwright, an artist who designed the Mezza Collection with his own interpretation of the art of Kintsugi.

Black basalt Wedgwood teapot, c.1920

January 14th, 2018

This small squat black basalt teapot has raised classical sprig decoration. It was made in England in the first quarter of the 1900s and measures 3.5 inches high and 6.25 inches from handle to spout. On the underside are the incised marks WEDGWOOD, 42, 10, SW.

Typical of an enormous number of 18th and 19th century teapots from all around the globe, metal spouts were attached to replace damaged ones, or to insure that undamaged spouts would remain so. Many were made of tin but some, such as this, were made of silver.

Sadly, the knob on the lid broke off during shipping. Of course I could just glue it back on but I think I’d rather see a silver replacement to match the spout in its place.

This identical teapot has its original spout.

wedgwood teapot

Photo courtesy of eBay

Make-Dos at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

January 6th, 2018

Last week I spent a few frigid days in Montreal, Canada, and stumbled upon a few make-dos hiding in plain sight at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art.

Scars (suture) Jar by Tamsin van Essen, 2007. Glazed earthenware.

Bottle, Iran, 2nd half of 17th-early 18th c. Frit body, overglaze lustre decoration, blue glaze. Later metal replacement neck.

Jug, Germany, c.1595. Salt-glazed stoneware, pewter lid with later pewter repairs.

Happy Holidays!

December 24th, 2017

Wishing you all the best for the holidays and hoping 2018 is all it’s cracked up to be!

Blue & white transferware dish, c.1830

December 17th, 2017

This serving dish was made in England by Wedgwood, c.1830. It is decorated with a blue transfer scene depicting buildings, ships, trees, and overscaled flowers along the border. On the underside is the stamped mark “WEDGWOOD’S STONE CHINA”. It measures 9 inches square.

Well over 100 years ago when this dish broke in half, it was brought to a “china mender” who repaired it using 12 metal staples, aka rivets. Originally it had a cover but I am guessing that when it took a tumble the lid was broken beyond repair. But at least the more functional piece survived and thanks to the handiwork of a 19th century restorer, this dish can still be used today.

 

This covered dish of similar form and decoration still has its original cover.

dish

Photo courtesy of eBay

Connecticut Ceramics Study Circle lecture

December 10th, 2017

Tomorrow, December 11, 2017, from 1:15pm – 3:00pm, I will be giving a talk at the Connecticut Ceramics Study Circle, at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT. Please stop by if you are in the neighborhood.

Click HERE for more information. Hope to see you there.

 

 

Samuel Hollins stoneware coffee pot, c.1800

December 2nd, 2017

This impressive drabware coffee pot was made by Samuel Hollins in Stoke-on-Trent, England, c.1795-1800. Made from unglazed dry bodied stoneware, it has sprigged decoration on the top portion, a ribbed lower portion, and silver lustre painted trim lines. It measures 8.5 inches high and 7.75 inches wide from handle to spout. On the underside is the impressed mark S. HOLLINS.

It appears that soon after the coffee pot was made, the tip of the spout broke off and the lid went missing. Luckily for the owner, a local tinsmith made a sturdy metal replacement lid, adding a hinge and a sawtooth edged collar. Although quite different in appearance, the new lid is more likely to remain on the pot, and the chance of another mishap his less likely.

This one shows what the original spout and lid would have looked like on mine.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 3.43.52 PM

Photo courtesy of WorthPoint

My collection is back, and so am I!

November 23rd, 2017

After a brief break from posting, I am back with more to share from my collection of antiques with inventive repairs.

Last weekend, the nearly 300 pieces from my collection, on loan to Boscobel for the exhibit Make-Do’s: Curiously Repaired Antiques, were returned to me. I was without them for almost a year and during that time, the suddenly empty shelves in my office slowly filled up with books and other household items. Due to time restraints, rather than methodically return the hundreds of teapots, jugs, plates, cups, goblets, etc. to my shelves in an orderly fashion, I was just able to pile them up all around the house, praying that my 2 young cats, Grady and Oscar, wouldn’t turn my prized repaired pieces back into broken antiques. As I have said before, there’s nothing more redundant than a broken make-do. So far, I am happy to report that everything is still intact!

Looking ahead, I may not be posting every week as I have for the past nearly 7 years, so please be patient with me between lapses in my posts. I have some exciting new projects I am working on and will share the results in the near future. Thank you for following my blog, which continues to bring me great pleasure, as I acquire and research new pieces and write these posts.

South American chicha jug, c.1908

October 8th, 2017

This baluster-form pottery chicha jug was made from natural red clay in Boliva or Peru in 1908. It is decorated with deep carvings, including “Indio” faces and geometric forms and measures 5.75 inches high and 5 inches wide. On the underside is a bold incised mark “1908 EA.” Chicha is a fermented beverage made in South and Central America from grains, maize or fruit.

A true survivor, this little jug suffered much damage early on but is still intact 109 years later. With its elaborate design and intricate details, it must have been treasured by its owner and was preserved for future generations using whatever materials were available. By wrapping thin leather strips tightly around the multiple fractures, the jug was able to function once again and saved from the junk pile. It goes without saying that I am certainly glad it wasn’t just thrown out with the garbage.