Posts Tagged ‘English’

Gaudy Welsh lustre jug, c.1840

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

This type of pearlware pottery “Dutch” shape jug, decorated in the Oyster pattern, was manufactured in England and Wales between 1820 and 1860, although about 80% of the production of this popular form and pattern was done in Staffordshire, England. Standing nearly 5″ tall, it is hand decorated with cobalt blue underglaze and pink lustre, green, and burnt orange overglaze enamels. Although this is not a hard to find jug, I have yet to see one with this type of seemingly simple, yet elaborate inventive repair.

Sometime in the 19th century after the jug was dropped, causing its handle to break into four pieces, a repairer decided to reinforce the broken pieces, rather than create a new metal replacement. The simple loop handle now contains three metal rivets attached through holes drilled at each broken joint, an iron cuff at the bottom, a ring at the top attached to a rivet drilled through to the inside rim, and a splint made from two thin copper wires soldered to the ends and riveted along each joint. I applaud the anonymous repairer who took a different approach with this type of unusual repair and am glad to have the outcome of his creativity in my collection.

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This jug with the same form and decoration has its handle intact.

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Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

King George VI & Queen Elizabeth loving cup, c.1937

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

This colorful porcelain loving cup was made by the Paragon China Company in Stoke-on-Trent, England, in 1937 to commemorate the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The figural lion handles and pastel colors give it a distinctive Art Deco look. At first glance the cup appears to be in tip-top condition, but upon closer inspection you can see all is not perfect for the royal couple. I imagine that after a robust toasting to the King and Queen, the loving cup clanked against a large stoneware tankard and broke in half. Surprisingly, it was not glued back together but brought to a china repairer who applied metal staples to make it whole again. With the invention of new types of glues and cements, developed for use during World War II, civilians were doing their own repairs at home, so by the mid-20th century, traditional staple repairs were becoming obsolete.

It seems that the china repairer or the owner of the cup couldn’t leave well enough alone and tried to mask the repair by painting over the staples. They did a decent job, however, matching the colors of the mug as they painstakingly matched each brushstroke of the pattern beneath.

The broken cup has been restored…long live the King! Long live the Queen! Long live the Art of Inventive Repair!

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English diptware jug, c.1800

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

I purchased this 7-3/4″ tall jug from a collector last February and it quickly became one of my favorites. The simple form, hot chocolate colored glaze, and impressive tin handle with strapping make it a visual delight. When I brought this jug to one of Don Carpentier’s workshops at Eastfield Village this summer, he marveled at it and said it was something special. So rather than try to describe it myself, here is what Don had to say:

“It is a baluster form English earthenware jug 1790-1810.  It is technically know as diptware because it was decorated with slip. The design at the rim inslip-inlaid checkered rouletting.  Made by impressing the design in the leather hard clay on the lathe with a roulette tool and then flooding the area with dark slip.  When the slip sets up to leather hard it is put back on the lathe and trimmed down flush with the surface of the body and the design is inlaid.”

The tinsmith who crafted the metal replacement handle did a fine job securing it to the jug, by means of straps running diagonally across the ovoid form. He also added a comfortable hand support, thumb rest and small curled flourish at the bottom. Sadly, some of the jug’s best features are covered by the tin handle, such as the intricate leaf terminals and almost half of the checkered rim. But without the added handle, the original owner would not be able to use the jug for its intended purpose and I would have nothing to write about today!

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This jug with similar form and rouletted black slip-filled herringbone mid-band, shows what the original loop handle on my jug may have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of Prices4Antiques

Nelson commemorative jug, c.1805

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

This colorful “Dutch” shape jug with transfer decoration and overglaze washes was made in Staffordshire, England to commemorate Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died in battle at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. After he was killed by a French sniper, Nelson’s body was preserved in brandy while being transported by ship back to England for burial. Nelson become one of Britain’s greatest war heroes and is memorialized by many London monuments, including Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square.

In 1797 during the unsuccessful Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Nelson tragically lost an arm. The ship’s surgeon, James Farquhar, wrote in his journal: “Compound fracture of the right arm by a musket ball passing thro a little above the elbow; an artery divided; the arm was immediately amputated.” Legend has it that within 30 minutes of treatment, Nelson was back in battle commanding his troops.

It seems this jug, too, has been to battle, as sometime in the mid-1800s it’s original handle snapped off and was replaced by a metal one. The itinerant tinsmith did a fine job fashioning a simple yet sturdy loop handle with thumb rest and small flourish at the bottom, which might have been his signature embellishment. It’s a shame that Lord Nelson couldn’t find a replacement for his own missing arm, as seen by the empty draped sleeve in his famous portrait by Lemuel Francis Abbott.

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This jug, also commemorating the death of Admiral Nelson and with similar form, shows what the handle on my jug might have looked like before it was wounded in battle.

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Photo courtesy of Toovey’s

Agate surface decorated teapot, c.1785

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

This handsome redware urn-shaped teapot was made in England in the late 18th century and stands 4-1/2″ tall. Its confetti-like agate surface decoration is inlaid with ochre, orange, brown, olive, blue, and white bits of clay. Encircling the middle is a slip-filled checkered rouletted band of pumpkin and brown. All that remains of the original handle, which must have broken off sometime in the 19th century, is a molded bearded mask terminal, set ominously askew. Growing out of its forehead is the lower part of a pewter handle, fashioned by a tinker to replace the broken original. This replacement follows the form of the simple loop-shaped original.

I found this piece in Maine a few years ago and was reminded of it during a recent trip to the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, where I spotted a teapot on display with similar agate surface decoration, shown in the last image below.

This teapot is another example of agate surface decoration, and although it differs in form and coloring, the checkerboard band decoration is similar to mine.

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Photo taken at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT.

Glass jug with metal handle, c.1800

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

I had never seen an early metal replacement handle found on a piece of glassware, until now. This blown glass baluster form jug with cut decoration stands 5-3/4″ tall and was made in England in the late 18th to early 19th century. Etched on the underside is a cursive signature, Neale & Co. WH, above an unpolished pontil scar. James Neale, a London merchant who opened the Church Works in North Staffordshire in the second half of the 18th century, was famous for producing earthenware in the style of neighbor Josiah Wedgwood’s ubiquitous pottery. Neale’s wares were of the same fine quality and though rivals, he helped Wedgwood, when in a pinch, with large orders that needed to be filled. Though known mostly for producing ceramic tableware and figures, Neale & Co. also housed glassware merchants at the Church Works, which explains why this unusual mark is found on my glass jug.

As I usually come across either handles still covered in rattan or exposed bare metal handles with all covering long gone, I was pleased to find this hybrid. It reveals a half-round crimped support strip of rattan along the interior of the handle, and also shows the remains of a decoratively woven outer cover. Pieces such as this seemingly inconsequential imperfect repair help collectors and scholars discover the early methods of repair and insulation. So thanks to those who owned this wonderful jug before me, keeping the remains of this most inventive repair intact!

This crystal jug shows what the original applied handle might have looked like on my jug.

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Photo courtesy of Replacements

Leeds creamware teapot, c.1770

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

I had been looking for an 18th century creamware teapot for many years so I was excited to have recently come across this appealing example with a most unusual, if not unique, repair.

This globular teapot, which measures 5-3/8″ high and 8″ wide, has an entwined strap handle with floral and leaf terminals and a cover with a pierced ball finial. The hand painted floral polychrome decoration is in tones of purple, green and persimmon. It was made in England during the last quarter of the 18th century at Leeds, a factory famous for developing creamware, a new type of earthenware using white Cornish clay and a translucent glaze.

Sadly for the owner, the original spout succumbed after an unfortunate accident (luckily, no charges were brought up and no bail bonds company existed back in the day if there were), while remarkably the more delicate handle remained intact. Happily for me, though, sometime in the early 1800s, the teapot was brought to an expert metalsmith who fashioned a unique replacement spout in what appears to be Britannia metal, a pewter-type alloy composed of tin, antimony and copper. The metal spout, expertly executed with precision and artistry, appears have a  modern steampunk attitude. To me it looks like a crooked finger urging “come here!”

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The underside reveals an early gummed paper label marked “Leeds” and a price of £4, which I would happily have paid. Of course it cost me a bit more, but I have no regrets.

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This example, with similar form and decoration, shows what my teapot’s spout would have looked like had it not broken off. But I much prefer my unique example with the juxtaposed metal spout.

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Photo courtesy of eBay

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.'”

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

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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.

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Photo courtesy of Earle D. Vandekar