Posts Tagged ‘bronze’

Chinese porcelain sauce boat, c.1760

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

This elongated Baroque serpentine form silver shape sauce boat was made in China during the Qianlong period (1736-1796). It is made of porcelain and decorated in the Famille Rose palette, with hand painted flowers, ducks, and garden stools in pink, green, blue, and white enamels with gilt highlights. It measures 9-3/4 inches long by 3-5/8 inches high.

Well over 150 years ago when the original simple loop handle snapped off, a “china mender” fashioned a replacement handle, which was riveted to the body. To help insulate the metal from the hot contents, rattan was wrapped and woven around the handle. This would have been one of a pair of matching sauce boats and was a part of a large dinner service. I wonder if it was separated from its mate and other “perfect” serving pieces, as was often the case.

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The original handle on this sauce boat, with identical form and similar decoration, gives you an idea of what the handle on my sauce boat would have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of Online Galleries

Chinese floral cream jug, c.1760

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

This porcelain baluster form cream jug with sparrow beak spout has floral decoration painted with polychrome enamels in the Famille Rose palette. It was made in China, circa 1760, and measures 4.5 inches tall.

After the original porcelain handle broke off, a rattan-wrapped bronze replacement handle was added. The missing patch of woven rattan reveals a bent section of bamboo just under the handle which was added to help cushion the bare metal. The tactile ridges in the rattan also make the handle easier to grip.

This jug of similar form shows what the original handle and lid might have looked like on mine.

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Photo courtesy of De Franse Lelie

V&A Ceramics Galleries revisited

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

I am back in London for a brief visit on my way to Ireland and the very first thing I did upon arrival was to head over to see the magnificent ceramics collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum. I could spend an entire day peering into the endless floor to ceiling glass cases filed with worldwide and world-class ceramics. Here are some of my favorite examples of inventive repairs found among the collection.

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Take a look at this previous post from just over a year ago, showing other examples from the collection.

Make-do’s at the MET, part 3

Saturday, April 11th, 2015

Earlier this week I took a stroll through one of my favorite spots in Manhattan, The Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. If the Smithsonian Museum is known as “The Nation’s Attic”, then I’d like to christen the Luce Center “The City’s Yard Sale” as it is packed from floor to ceiling with glass showcases filled with over 18,000 tchotchkes, including Tiffany lamps, Shaker boxes and Revere silver. This impressive collection of the museum’s overflow allows the public to research and take a peek into the MET’s closets. If you look closely among the rare Chinese porcelain and early English pottery you will find dozens of pieces in various states of disrepair including visible cracks, chips, worn paint and missing parts.

Here are some of my favorite make-do’s, all hoping to one day escape the confines of the study center’s curio cabinets and be placed alongside their more presentable friends in the “big house.”

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Signed Chinese jug with split handle, c.1740

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

This Chinese baluster shaped porcelain jug, with molded spout in the manner of European silver, has hand painted underglaze cobalt blue Nanking decoration of houses, trees and birds. It dates from the middle of the 18th century and stands nearly 8″  tall.

Over 100 years ago when the original reeded strap handle broke off, an unusual split form metal replacement handle was added. A clever tinker reinterpreted the original handle design by forging a bronze loop handle into four extensions and adding small discs, which were riveted to the leaf terminals. The remains of an intricately woven rattan sheath are found on about one third of the handle. Most curiously, there is an engraved signature on the underside, difficult to decipher, which may be the name of the china mender or of a previous owner. If anyone knows more about this marking, please let me know.

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This jug with similar form and decoration shows what the original handle on my jug may have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of eBay

Set of 5 Mason’s Ironstone cups, c.1835

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

In the world of collecting, nothing pleases me more than stumbling upon items with matching inventive repairs, and this set of footed breakfast cups and saucers deliver five times over. Made in England by Mason’s Ironstone from 1830 to 1840, these heavy porcelain cups, measuring nearly 3-1/4″  tall, have the transfer printed “Conversation” pattern in the rare yellow scale colorway. Each cup and saucer is marked in black transfer on the underside MASON’S PATENT IRONSTONE CHINA.

I purchased the set during my last trip to London from dealer Fergus Robert Downey who later told me that he has a sixth cup with an identical replaced handle, so I am hoping to one day have the complete sextet. I can’t imagine that all of the original handles snapped off the cups at the same time, unless a particular breakfast got a bit too rowdy. More likely, one or two handles might have broken off, so in order to keep the set looking uniform, the remaining intact handles were removed and all cups were fitted with the same metal replacement. The metalsmith did a fine job, as all of the handles are well matched and expertly riveted to the cups.

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This cup, in perfect condition, shows what the original handles on my cups would have looked like before they took a tumble.

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Photo courtesy of Vanbrugh West Antiques

Chinese bowl with metal bands, c.1800

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

This porcelain bowl was made in China during the Jiaqing period (1796-1820) and measures 2-3/4″ tall, 6-7/8″ in diameter. It is decorated with scrolling lotus blossoms in cobalt blue underglaze “pencil drawn” decoration, a style using cross hatched lines instead of color washes to show shading. It has a blue seal mark on the bottom, as well as an early collector’s inventory label.

At first glance this fine bowl appears unscathed, dare I say “perfect,” showing no noticeable sign of damage or repair. But upon closer inspection, one can see a subtle yet most effective inventive repair. Over 150 years ago when the bowl dropped and broke in half, two simple bronze bands were attached, one along the top rim and the other encircling the base, holding the broken pieces tightly together. Due to the exceptional quality of the repair, I believe a skilled 19th century jeweler was responsible for this delicate work, as the top band’s thickness is an incredible 2/16″ with invisible seams. But most amazingly, not a drop of glue was used to mend this bowl.

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Porcelain blue & white jug c.1785

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Chinese porcelain baluster-form hot milk jug with sparrow beak spout, made in the mid to late 18th century during the Qianlong Period (1736-1795). Delicately decorated in underglaze cobalt blue, it shows a large vase sitting on a carved wood table and filled with precious objects surrounded by flowers and a pair of bees. The scale of these objects is a bit off-kilter, which adds a whimsical quality. Jug measures 5-3/4″ high and 4″ wide to the end of handle.

The original porcelain handle was replaced over one hundred years ago with a woven wicker-covered bronze replacement. I have dozens of examples of wicker-covered metal replacement handles in my collection, as this was a standard form of inventive repair; and at first glance, the handles all look pretty much the same, but upon closer inspection, you will see a variation in the pattern of the weaving. This handle has a straightforward checkerboard weave, while some of my pieces have the rattan in more than one color and woven in a more intricate pattern. I think a post dedicated to showing the many variations of woven-handle styles would be interesting, don’t you?

This blue & white decorated jug with similar form still has its porcelain handle and lid intact. Before my jug became an example of “inventive repair” it would have looked much like this one.

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Photo courtesy of eBay

Coalport cup with birds, c.1830

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

London shape porcelain cabinet cup, made by Coalport in the early to mid 1800s. The Coalport factory was founded by John Rose in 1795 in Shropshire, a county in the West Midlands region of England. This example is superbly painted with angry looking birds & insects in panels surrounded by ornate gilt scrollwork and a cobalt blue ground. Measures 2-1/2″ high. Delicately formed bronze handle replaces the long lost broken original which had the same simple loop shape.

Qianlong cream jug, c.1750

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

A lovely porcelain baluster form cream jug with sparrow beak spout, decorated in the Famille Rose palette. Made in China during the Qianlong period (1736-96) for export to North America and Europe, when fine porcelain was in high demand

The delicate ornamentation rendered in polychrome enamels depicts a cashpot, itself decorated, and spilling with flowers, vines and a pumpkin

Jug stands 3-1/2″ tall, minus its lost cover

When this jug was dropped and its handle lost, it was brought to a metalsmith who fashioned a replacement handle from bronze. The scroll shape of the new handle, more elaborate in form than its predecessor, suggests it was forged in the early to mid-1800’s

This cream jug, from the same period and of similar form and decoration, has its original cover and handle intact

Photo courtesy of  Guest & Gray