Posts Tagged ‘glass’

Glass trumpet vase, c.1900

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

I found this pretty Bohemian crimped-edge glass vase at a small antiques shop near my house in the Catskills a few summers ago. It is decorated with enamel and gilt flowers in the Art Nouveau style and measures 10 inches high and 6.5 inches in diameter at the base. It was made in Europe at the turn of the 19th century.

Although it has an unusual make-do base repurposed from a brass lamp, I hesitated at first as it didn’t call out to me as most antiques with inventive repairs do. But I ended up buying it and in the years since it has grown on me. The dealer I purchased it from had polished the replacement base within an inch of its life, buffing the brass to match the lustre of the gilding. Typically, I prefer my early repairs to have a dark, rich patina, but in this case I like the gold on gold coloring. It just seems right.

This vase of similar form suggests what the base on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of eBay

Not a make-do, part two

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

“We learn from failure, not from success!” Bram Stoker, Dracula

Well said, Mr. Stoker. Over the years, I have purchased a handful of items which, at the time, appeared to have inventive repairs. But upon closer inspection, I discovered they were not make-do’s. Here are a few of my mistakes that I eventually grew to love and even learned something from.

During a trip to Amsterdam a few years ago I purchased four glasses with silver bases at an antiques market. I was surprised to find over a dozen pieces with similar silver repairs all in one place. Assured by the dealer that the bases were indeed replacements and not original to the glassware, I bought a few of them, even though I was still not entirely convinced of his claim. Upon returning home, I began to research them extensively and after hours of digging deep into the depths of Google, came up with nothing. Months later, I accidentally stumbled upon a similar piece for sale in Amsterdam. After contacting the shop, Valentijn Antiek, and asking for information regarding this specific type of “repair”, I was told that these were not repaired pieces. The dealer went on to tell me that they were and still are being made by contemporary jewelers. I was told “For clarification, you should know something about the (Dutch) national character: The Dutch are and were very frugal. A repair, for example, crystal, should not cost too much. Objects are restored only in case 1) there is not as quick as possible a replacement; 2) the material of the object is expensive and scarce; 3) it is a precious object, because it is a reminder; or because one has received it from someone (like your mother in law) with whom you do not want to have to get a quarrel.”

This delicate champagne flute is the first piece I bought. I still find it hard to believe that its silver base is not an inventive repair.

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This goblet has a nicely detailed silver base. It also had me fooled.

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I was a bit more skeptical of these two, which appear to be from the 1960s. Their silver bases do look intentional.

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I recently found this sharply cut small footed dish at an antiques shop in New Jersey. Although my gut was telling me that the hallmarked silver base was not a replacement I purchased it anyway. It seems that old habits die hard.

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Nostetangen goblets with silver repairs

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

During a recent trip to Oslo, Norway, I discovered that the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design is packed with antiques with inventive repairs. I was particularly impressed by the abundance of intricately engraved 18th century German and Norwegian glassware, many with added silver mounts repairing snapped goblet stems and missing bases. Reflecting their rarity, many of these priceless presentational pieces were brought back to life by esteemed Norwegian jewelers and silversmiths in the 18th and 19th century. Here are some of my favorites:

Goblet (center) engraved by H. G. Kohler, artist and engraver at Nøstetangen Glassworks, on the occasion of the anointing of King Christian VII, 1767. The crimped silver joint was added later to repair the broken stem.

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Goblet, Nøstetangen, ca. 1766-1770. Engraved by H. G. Kohler with later ornate silver replacement base.

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Goblet (center) engraved in Bohemia, c. 1720, with silver cuff to repair a snapped stem.

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Both goblets were engraved at Nøstetangen Glassworks by an unknown engraver in 1748. The goblet at left has a silver cuff repairing a broken stem and the goblet at right has a brass replacement base.

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Stapled crystal decanter, c.1830

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

This cut crystal spirit decanter has panel cut shoulders, a single neck ring and a splayed top. It appears to be late Georgian, made in Ireland or England. It measures 8-1/2 inches high and is missing its mushroom form stopper.

Although it is not unusual to find cracked porcelain repairs with metal staples, glassware repaired in the same manner is less common. These metal staples made of thin wire repair a vertical crack on both sides, giving it the appearance of a laced corset.

This decanter with similar form has its original stopper but is without staple repairs. Guess which one I prefer?

https://www.1stdibs.com

Photo courtesy of 1stdibs

Champagne coupe with wood base, c.1850

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

This hand blown glass champagne coupe with fluted stem was made around 1850, possibly in America. It measures 5-1/2 inches high.

I imagine during an exuberant New Year’s Eve toast, well over 100 years ago, the base snapped off. Rather than toss out the broken glass, a replacement base was made. A simple, nicely turned wood replacement base was attached to the remaining stem and the champagne was poured once again.

Happy New Year to my friends and followers of Past Imperfect: The Art of Inventive Repair!

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Crystal jug with silver handle, c.1836

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

I found this little gem while vacationing in London last spring. While the majority of my collection is comprised of ceramics, I marvel at inventive repairs done on glass, which seem even more astonishing to me. This cut lead crystal pear shaped jug stands 4.75 inches tall, has an exaggerated spout with scalloped rim and heavily cut patterns. It was made during the Georgian era and is dated 1836, along with the name J. Jopling on a front panel. It is missing its original applied glass handle but in my opinion, the innovative replacement handle is much more interesting than the original one would have been.

Someone was clumsy in the mid 19th century and soon after the glass handle snapped off, it was taken to a silversmith who fashioned an elaborate silver replacement. A clever repair was done incorporating a delicately proportioned silver-plated handle and support wires and cuffs so that no holes were drilled through the body of the jug. Tiny screws at the back near the handle terminals allow for the handle to be completely removed without damage to the fragile glass. As much as I love the workmanship on this early repair, my only regret is that the repairer did not sign his work.

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This jug with similar form maintains its original handle and gives you an idea of what my jug might have looked like intact.

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Photo courtesy of 1stdibs

Chrysanthemum Leaf vase, c.1900

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

This Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG) vase was made in Greentown, Indiana, by the Indiana Tumbler & Goblet Co. from 1894 until 1903. It is made of non-flint glass in the Chrysanthemum leaf pattern with gold accents and stands 5.75 inches high.

I have many examples of EAPG goblets, celery holders, vases, cake stands and oil lamps in my collection that have been dropped and inventively repaired with wood and tin. This one sports a modern-looking golden oak pyramid-shaped wood base replaced in the early 20th century.

This vase still has its original base.

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Photo courtesy of eBay

Bohemian milch glass mug, c.1750

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

This 18th century Milch Glass mug with hand painted polychrome hunting scene of a stage pursued by a dog was made in central Europe in the 18th century and measures 6-1/4″  high.

After this mug was dropped, breaking into two pieces, it was most likely taken to an itinerant china mender who repaired it using 16 metal staples of various sizes. It is more common to find ceramics repaired with staples or rivets, but skilled repairers drilled through glass as well.

“Bohemia was also renowned for ‘milch glass’ or milk glass, and tumblers, mugs, bottles and such things made of it were decorated with Watteau scenes and floral designs. The technique is often good, but the shapes are generally clumsy and the decoration insipid.” From The Glass Collector: A Guide to Old English Glass by MacIver Perciva, 1919.

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Here’s another example of Milch Glass with similar form and decoration.

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Photo courtesy of Andrew Dando

Sunderland Bridge etched glass jug, c.1840

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

This unusual hand blown commemorative glass jug with applied handle was made in England around 1840 and stands 6-1/4″ high. It features beautifully engraved images including a frigate in full sail under the Wearmouth Bridge in Sunderland, an oval cartouche with “WH” monogram, an elaborate fruit basket, a spray of wheat, roses and grapes. Examples of Sunderland souvenirs made of glass are more unusual than the popular pottery pieces with colorful transfer decoration, overglaze washes and pink lustre highlights.

The Wearmouth Bridge was completed in 1796 but was still being commemorated well into the middle of the 19th century. When opened it was the longest single span bridge in the world. The original bridge was replaced in 1929 and is still in use today.

It must have taken a skilled hand to stabilize the large horizontal crack using just 5 metal rivets. The underside reveals a ground pontil mark, as well as scratches and wear, showing that this jug has been well used. But it’s remarkable that a fragile glass jug such as this hasn’t sustained even more wear and damage over the past 175 years.

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Photo courtesy of The Sunderland Site

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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