Posts Tagged ‘clobbered’

Chinese bowl for “Mifs Cox”, c.1740

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

This Chinese bowl, which measures 2.75 inches high and 5.75 inches diameter, is decorated with flowers, pagodas, and bridges in the Japanese Imari style and palette. It was made for export to Europe in the early to mid 1700s with just the blue underglaze decoration, but soon after arriving, it was overpainted in red and gold to keep up with the public’s new demand for colorful porcelain. This method of overpainting is often referred to as clobbering.

You may wonder why I am featuring a bowl that appears to have had its broken halves merely glued together. But the “Mifs Cox” red mark on the underside – she was most likely the original owner of the bowl – gives insight into how the bowl was repaired. An early form of ceramic repair practiced in England during the late 1700s to middle 1800s was called “china burning,” in which broken ceramics were re-fired at a low temperature, causing the broken pieces to fuse together. The most renowned china burner was Edward Combes of Queen Street, Bristol, who signed his pieces on the underside in red script, similarly to the mark on this bowl. I have a few examples of pieces repaired and signed by Combes and will post them in the coming months.

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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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Amsterdam Bont decorated teapot, c.1740

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

This Qianlong period globular form teapot has a C shaped handle and an inlaid flat lid with round knob. It was made in China in the mid-1700s and stands 4-1/4″  tall and  7-3/4″  from handle to spout. The original blue underglaze decoration fell out of fashion shortly after it was made, as by the mid-1700s more “attractive colors” were the taste of the day. In order to keep up with the sudden demand for polychrome Chinese ceramics, factories in Europe took the unwanted blue and white decorated pieces and overpainted them with brightly colored enamels, often without regard for the original design beneath. This victim of clobbering, as it is also referred to, or Amsterdam Bont, when done in Holland, has been over decorated with the flower basket motif, one of the most popular designs.

The unusual form replacement silver spout appears to have been made by a skilled 18th century silversmith. It replaced a straight spout, but I think this replacement is much more interesting, and adds to the quirkiness of this twice-decorated teapot.

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This teapot with similar form and decoration shows what the spout on my teapot might have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of Pater Gratia Oriental Art

James Giles Studio overpainted teapot, c.1740

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

This fascinating globular shape Chinese porcelain teapot from the Qianlong period (1711-1799) bears little resemblance to its original form. It was first painted in China with cobalt blue underglaze decoration of mountains, trees and buildings, but soon after it was exported and arrived in England, the local taste for simple blue and white decorated porcelain had waned. In order to keep up with the new demand for more colorful wares, many of these pieces were overpainted or “clobbered” with additional decorations and colors, to appeal to the changing taste in porcelain design.

A fine example, this teapot’s decoration, overpainted in the “Grape and Vine” pattern in black and pink with gilt highlights, appears to have executed at the James Giles Studio in London. James Giles (1718-1780), a porcelain decorator and son of James senior, also a china painter, maintained a studio on Cockspur Street near Trafalgar Square. His wealthy and royal clients included Major-General Robert Clive, Princess Amelia, and painter George Stubbs.

After the appearance of the surface decoration was altered, a more drastic metamorphosis was about to take place. We will never know the exact cause of the teapot’s losing its original spout and handle, but it is conceivable that a fumble resulted in the necessary trip to a metalsmith for repairs. A silver rococo replacement spout, a wood and metal handle, and metal staple repairs to the lid were just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate the patient and send him home, altered in appearance but able to function once again, pouring tea. Teapot measures 4-3/4” high, 7-1/2” long.

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This globular teapot shows what the original handle and spout might have looked like when my teapot was new.

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Photo courtesy of eBay

Clobbered globular teapot, c.1750

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

This globular shaped porcelain teapot with straight spout, loop handle and domed cover was made in China for export to London in the mid-1700s, where it was decorated with branches and leaves in cobalt blue underglaze. It measures 4-3/4″ tall and 7-1/4″ from the end of the handle to the tip of the spout. But after living in London as blue and white teapot for nearly a century, it went through a colorful transformation.

Although blue and white decorated Chinese porcelain was in high demand up until the mid-1700s, it soon fell out of favor as more colorful porcelains started appearing on the market. In trying to keep up with the sudden demand, and while attempting to get rid of the less desirable blue and white pieces, clever European merchants struck gold. They simply painted over the existing blue and white decoration with an overglaze of additional colors. This practice, called clobbering, is also known as Amsterdams Bont when done in the Netherlands in the Imari style and palette. A translucent green wash covers most of the teapot’s surface, revealing traces of the original blue leaf decoration, now accentuated in gold. Additional stylized flowers, leaves and borders are painted in polychrome washes and heavy enamels with little regard to the pattern beneath the surface. Some artists paid more attention embellishing the original designs but on this piece you can see faint traces of the original blue peering through, like the shadow of a fish swimming in murky water. Many purists find the colorful additions gaudy and an abomination but I rather like them, seeing it as another form of making-do.

The silver spout with scalloped plate is a replacement, made in the same style and form as the porcelain original, mounted by a silversmith over 200 years ago.

I originally listed this as an example of “Amsterdams Bont”, clobbered in the Imari style in Amsterdam. I was informed by one of my subscribers, an expert and author in the field of clobbered ceramics, that my teapot was actually overpainted in London during the first quarter of the 19th century in colors better suited for the Regency / Brighton Pavilion taste. Thank you Helen Espir for the much appreciated information.

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This is what my teapot may have looked like before the original spout was replaced and before it was overpainted in London, about 75 years later.

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Photo courtesy of eBay

Clobbered Canton plate, c.1800

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

This Chinese porcelain plate started out life in the early 1800s with traditional blue underglaze Canton decoration. It was later painted over or “clobbered” with overglaze washes of red, green enamels and gilt highlights, without much thought to the original plate’s decoration. As the demand for more colorful wares increased throughout Europe, enterprising merchants painted over their slow selling blue and white ceramics. Much of the over decorating was done in the Netherlands, where the pieces were referred to as “Amsterdams Bont” (colorful wares from Amsterdam) . Plate measures 8-3/4″ in diameter.

After the plate dropped and broke in to 4 pieces, it was made whole again by the addition of 9 metal staples.

A “Chinese” mark on the bottom is actually part of the Dutch clobbered decoration.

This Canton plate shows what mine looked like before it was embellished.

Photo courtesy of Antique Helper

Bullet shaped clobbered teapot, c.1740

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

A bullet (aka globular) form porcelain teapot made in China, started out with a simple cobalt blue underglaze decoration. Later in life, it was “clobbered” in the Imari style, as a more ornate and colorful type of porcelain was in favor at the time. It was over painted in washes of iron-red, pink, orange and blue enamel. Teapot stands 4-1/4″ high

The broken spout was replaced in the 19th century with a new one made of silver plate

A nicely scalloped silver collar was added in the 1800’s to mask the chipped rim

My porcelain teapot’s bullet form was based on European silver, as is evident in this 18th century silver teapot

photo courtesy of M.S. Rau Antiques

Clobbered Imari teapot, c.1730

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Chinese porcelain globular form teapot with cobalt blue underglaze Nanking design, “clobbered” in the mid-1700’s with red & gilt overglaze in Imari style decoration

Surprisingly, the extended lid finial has survived the past 300 years intact. Teapot measures 5″ high

Original porcelain spout was replaced in the mid-18th to early 19th century with a well formed metal spout and round backplate

This beautiful clobbered Imari teapot shows what the original spout on my teapot might have looked like

Photo courtesy of M. Ford Creech Antiques

Miniature “clobbered” teapot, c.1700

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

A tiny Chinese porcelain teapot made during the Kangxi period (1662-1722) combining three of my favorite things: inventive repair, miniatures and clobbering. It’s hard to tell what the original 1700’s underglaze decoration was, as the multi color & gilt overglaze decoration of dragons & flowers extends over the entire surface.

Clobbered in the early 1800s to satisfy the demand for more colorful pottery of the times, this small teapot stands 4-3/4″ tall.

There is a hole connecting the spout to the body, as well as a tiny hole in the lid for steam to escape, confirming this to be a functioning miniature.

This piece has travelled much over the past 220 years, as it was originally made in China, exported to Europe, clobbered most likely in Holland, landed in Scotland with a collector and ended up with me in America!

The replaced metal handle has been painted to match the body. See an earlier post, “Globular Chinese export teapot, c.1750”, with a similarly painted handle.

Typical pseudo Oriental marks were painted on bottom at the time of the clobbering to add “authenticity”.

This miniature clobbered teapot of similar form shows what the original handle on my teapot might have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of Grays

Chinese clobbered teapot, c.1780

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I am a big fan of clobbered (over-decorated) porcelains and this piece does not disappoint. A Chinese export porcelain teapot, measuring 5-1/4″ high, originally with blue underglaze Nanking decoration fell out of fashion shortly after it was made. In order to keep up with the sudden demand for polychrome Chinese ceramics, factories took the unwanted pieces with blue decoration and overpainted with brightly colored enamels, often without regard for the original design

And if that wasn’t enough, when the handle broke off it was repaired using metal staples and wrapped with lead. The result is less than attractive but the sturdy repair makes the teapot once again serviceable

This teapot escaped the hand of a painter with polychrome enamels and retains its original blue decoration

Photo courtesy of Equinox Antiques