Posts Tagged ‘English’

Staffordshire pottery cradle, c.1820

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Miniature pottery cradles were a popular form of wedding gift throughout the UK during the late 17th to mid-19th century. The not-too-subtle message to the newlyweds was to encourage fertility. This humble example, measuring 3″ high by 3-3/4″ long, is made from yellow glazed pottery and decorated with an incised circle pattern. It was made in Staffordshire, England, in the early 1800s. Perhaps after the young couple took the hint of the cradle’s implied message and had a child, the little darling grew up and one day broke the cradle. But one can’t blame the child who simply thought the cradle was a toy to be played with and not a symbol of its own mere existence. Distraught over their broken gift, the couple took the two halves to a china mender who repaired the cradle using two 3/4″ metal staples. Although the cradle is back in one piece and suitable for displaying, the obtrusive scars bear witness to the unfortunate event.





This grouping has similar cradles with molded babies in swaddling, rarer than my empty one.


Photo courtesy of John Howard

Basket case Victorian dish, c.1850

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

In honor of Mother’s Day, I am featuring a dish that only a mother could love. I believe it to be English from the mid 1800s and made of porcelain with hand painted decoration in cobalt, drab and gold. It is marked on the bottom with the numbers 4 over 554 and measures 9″ x 10″. This is truly one of the saddest antiques with inventive repairs I have ever seen, and believe me, it took much inner soul searching just to purchase it. I am breaking with tradition and showing the underside of the plate first. Take a deep breath…this is not going to be pretty.



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This dish must have held great sentimental value for its original owner. In order to make it “whole” again after being shattered over 100 years ago, it was professionally repaired using 10 large metal staples, overpainted to mask the unsightly raw material. Sadly, the dish was dropped AGAIN, resulting in the loss of 3 staples and a sloppy glue job, now yellow with age. To add insult to injury, later in life it was bound with a cat’s cradle worth of string and cord, so it could proudly hang on a wall for all the world to see the tenacity of this unlikely survivor.

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Redware vixen stirrup cup, c.1775

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

This redware pottery figural stirrup cup was made in England in the third quarter of the 18th century and is in the form of a cunning little vixen’s head. L-shaped, it measures 4″ tall by 6-1/4″ wide and is freestanding, which is unusual, as most stirrup cups are base-less and unable to stand on their own. Stirrup cups, traditionally filled with port or sherry, were given to guests as a parting drink at the conclusion of a fox hunt, while their feet were still in their stirrups. This tradition began in the United Kingdom in the 18th century and continued for hundreds of years. As this sport never ended well for the fox, it was finally banned in Scotland in 2002 and in England and Wales just three years later.




The original handle must have broken off after an inebriated hunter grabbed the cup at the conclusion of the hunt, downed his sherry, then promptly fell off his horse, dropping and breaking the prized vessel. I imagine the host was not pleased by the guest’s unruly behavior and surely did not invite him back anytime soon. Luckily, a metalsmith, most likely in the 19th century, came to the rescue and fashioned a new handle with support bands, thus enabling another, more sober guest to stay in the saddle and toast his gracious host.



An original paper label on the bottom links this cup to esteemed collector and author Frank Falkner of Cheshire, England. The June 1905 issue of Glass and Pottery World contains an article that includes this amusing excerpt: “Mr. Falkner and Mr. Lidelstham had a hobby for old pottery, but they did not follow the usual practice of collectors by acquiring rare specimens of old Sevres, Worcester, Crown Derby, Wedgwood or others of the same high class. They directed their attention to the homely figures and ornaments with which ‘the rural population of a century ago used to deck their dresser or mantel shelf. These common rustic figures, made by men who were little more than peasants themselves, had been passed over in silence for the most part even in ceramic histories.'”


The Stirrup Cup by Heywood Hardy (1842-1933) shows hunters being offered drinks in figural stirrup cups by their host.


Another fine example of a rare L-shaped stirrup cup, this one is in the form of a hare, and still with its original handle.


Photo courtesy of Earle D. Vandekar

Worcester teapot with thimble spout, c.1770

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

A fine example of a globular form porcelain teapot made in England by Worcester in the 3rd quarter of the 18th century, it is hand painted with polychrome enamels in the Conjurer pattern, with unusual cobalt blue underglaze rim decoration.



Teapot measures  7-1/2″ wide from handle to spout and stands 4-1/2″ high minus its original flower finial lid. Metal replacement spouts on teapots are one of the most common inventive repairs I encounter and I have dozens of examples ranging from crudely cut tin, to ornately chased silver.



I purchased this one a few months ago under the guise of the spout’s having a typical metal replacement, as I was interested in owning my first Worcester teapot. But as I unpacked, upon closer inspection I discovered that the replacement spout was actually a repurposed 19th century sterling silver thimble!



What an ingenious solution to saving two precious, much used household objects. It seems that the thimble, which must have been jabbed by a needle one too many times, and finally bearing a hole in the end, was crudely cut at an angle and cemented to the damaged end of the ceramic spout. With such a simple DIY solution, I am surprised I haven’t seen more repairs done in this manner. I can only imagine that had Hints from Heloise appeared in 19th century newspapers, there would be many more examples like this in existence today.


Another Worcester example with similar form and decoration shows what the lid and end of the spout would have looked like on my teapot.


Photo courtesy of Trocadero

Chinoiserie print ale mug, c.1790

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

This substantial ale mug was manufactured at the turn of the 18th century, possibly by Caughley, in Shropshire, England. It stands 5-1/2″ tall and is made of soft-paste porcelain with a pearlware glaze, and decorated with a bold cobalt blue Chinoiserie fantasy transfer print. It was purchased in London by my father and given to me as my 40th birthday present. Seeing it reminds me of how proud he was when he found pieces to add to my numerous collections. Although it has just 2 small brass staples by the handle and not an over abundance of obvious repairs, as more typically seen in these pages, I am still very happy to own it.

Derby porcelain ointment box, c.1905

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

This tiny porcelain ointment box was made in England by Royal Crown Derby in the early 1900s. Standing a mere 1″ tall and with a diameter of 1-3/4″, it is one of the smallest antiques with inventive repairs I own. It is nicely hand decorated in the Imari pattern with classic cobalt blue, red and gilt enamels. The “V” mark on the bottom of both the lid and base dates this wee box to 1905. The underside of the lid reveals three metal staples, graduating in size from 1/4″ to 3/8″ long, which hold the two broken halves tightly together.


Small creamware jug, c.1810

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

This small, lightweight ribbed creamware jug with gadrooned rim was made in England at the turn of the 19th century. It measures 3-1/4″ tall and has a replaced handle made of aluminum, a material I rarely encounter on repaired items. Two small rivets hold the handle to the body, which can be seen from the inside of the jug. I am glad that some of the cream colored enamel, painted in the same color as the jug and intended to mask the early repair have chipped away, exposing portions of the raw metal underneath.

Chinese-English “monster mug”, c.1780

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

This is the story of a forced marriage between an 18th century Chinese porcelain mug and a 19th century English pottery jug, joined together by a mad tinker to live out the rest of their lives as one. The Qianlong period (1736-1795) mug with cobalt blue underglaze design stands 5-1/8″ high. The original handle, most likely in the form of a dragon, broke off sometime in the early 1800s. I imagine a clever repairer (or Dr. Frankenstein?) found a damaged English stoneware pottery jug, skillfully removed the intact snake-shaped handle and, using two metal rivets, reattached it to the body of a Chinese tankard…creating a hybrid Anglo-Asian monster mug!

This is what the original dragon handle on my Chinese mug would have looked like before it broke off. Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

And this Mason’s Ironstone “Hydra” jug, made in Staffordshire, c.1830, shows the serpent handle intact. Photo courtesy of Selling Antiques

Miniature Davenport watering can, c.1860

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

English porcelain miniature watering can made by Davenport in the mid-1800s. Finely painted with multicolor floral and scrollwork design with gilt accents. Measures 2-3/4″ high to tip of moth form lid finial and is 3-1/2″ wide from end to end. Stamped in red with DAVENPORT in a banner with an anchor, dating it from 1850 to 1870. Three brass staples on the handle, with the aid of some sloppily applied glue, hold the three broken pieces back together again.

White ironstone water jug, c.1870

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Not much is known about this large white ironstone water jug with impressed basket weave design and pearlware glaze. It was found at a bottle dig site in Harper’s Ferry, NY, and remarkably, the tin handle, buried in the ground for dozens of years, remained mostly intact. The neck and spout of the jug were not so lucky, as much has broken off, revealing an asymmetrical jagged edge. This scrappy jug was made in England in the mid to late 19th century, and measures 9-1/4″ hight to top of handle and is 7-1/2″ at its widest point.

This intact jug shows what the original handle and top edge of my jug would have looked like before the tumble.

Photo courtesy of One Kings Lane