Posts Tagged ‘metal base’

Toby figural pepper pot, c.1870

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

This 5 inch tall figural pepper pot (also known as a caster or muffineer) in the form of Sir Toby Philpott, wears a tricorn hat and grasps a tankard of ale in one hand and a tobacco pipe in the other. It was made in Staffordshire, England, in the late 1800s, of polychrome glazed pottery and is part of a four-piece caster (also known as a cruet or condiment) set, which includes a mustard, salt, and vinegar.

This Toby originally stood on a round plinth base, which he jumped off of (or fell, or was pushed) at least 100 years ago. In its place is a nicely crafted silver replacement base, lending an air of elegance to this robust fellow.

This chap stands on his original base, although the crack at the bottom leads me to believe that he might be heading to the silversmith soon to be fitted for his own silver replacement base.

Photo courtesy of The Antique Shop

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

Pewter teapot, c.1850

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

This unassuming pewter teapot was most likely made in America in the mid 19th century. It stands 9 inches tall and has a fanciful wooden handle and knob. As pewter is a soft and malleable metal, many early pieces did not survive intact. This pot is one such example.

At some point during the past 160+ years, the original base was damaged and the tea stopped flowing. A tinsmith fashioned a simple tin conical foot as a replacement and the teapot was able to function once again. At the time of the repair, the shiny metal base stood in stark contrast to the dull pewter. But today, both metals appear to have melded and the repair is now hard to detect.

This pewter teapot with similar form suggests what the original base on mine might have looked like.

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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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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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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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German Annaberg jug, c.1680

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

This early black-brown salt glazed stoneware pewter-mounted Birnkrug “pear jug” was made in Annaberg, Germany in the second half of the 17th century. It has incised scaled body decoration of stylized relief palmettes and leaf ornamentation divided by applied molded borders, the front with a figure of Jesus. It is embellished in polychrome enamels and gilding, which have remained surprisingly vibrant after over 330 years. The hinged pewter lid is connected to a ball thumb piece and inset with what appears to be a coin with a crucifixion scene.

As rare as this 10″  high jug is, it is even more special to me by possessing a pewter replacement handle, added by an 18th century tinker, most likely in Germany, after the original handle broke off. The delicate handle, with an intricate stippled wave design and border, is supported by a mounted pewter base ring and lid collar. I first saw this pricy jug at an antiques shop over one year ago and passed on it. But I recently stopped by the shop again and was delighted to find that no one else had snatched it up. After a brief bargaining session with the friendly dealer, I was finally was able to purchase this gem and add it to my collection.

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This jug of similar form and decoration still has its original handle.

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Photo courtesy of Bonhams

Pewter whale oil lamp, c.1830

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

This early American pewter whale oil lamp with squared off acorn shaped font stands a tad more than 6″  tall. Whale oil was the preferred source of lighting in the early 1800s, and was also used for making soap, textiles, jute, varnish, explosives and paint. It fell out of favor by late 1800s as a result of the development of kerosene oil in 1846.

The metal replacement base, made by a tinker in the 19th century, has oxidized to almost the same tone as the pewter, thereby making the repair hard to detect. As a result of the missing double burner atop, this lamp instantly transforms into a unique and quirky vase.

Barrels of Whale Oil – New Bedford, Ma., 1859

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This example still has its original pewter base and double burner.

Photo courtesy of Dennis Raleigh Antiques

Moser enameled glass pokal, c.1890

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

This tall, regal enameled amber glass pokal was made at the end of the 19th century by the esteemed glass manufacturer Moser, in Karlsbad, Austria; today known as Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. Ludwig Moser opened his first factory in 1857 and soon his artfully decorated glassware found its way into worldwide collections of presidents, popes, king, queens, and Liberace. To the best of my knowledge, this pokal, which measures 15.75 inches tall, was not owned by Liberace. As the bulk of the pokal is quite heavy, I am not surprised that at some point it broke in two, snapping off at the base. Luckily for me, an early practitioner of recycling secured the remaining unscathed upper portion of it to a sturdy brass lamp base, allowing it to be filled to the brim with beer or display an arrangement of fresh flowers.

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This tall amber glass vase made by Moser has its original base intact.

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Photo courtesy of Trocadero

Free-blown glass goblet, c.1790

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

This free-blown conical shaped wine glass with gadrooned bowl stands 4-1/2″ tall. I believe it to be of European origin and made in the late 1700s.

I especially like the lozenge shaped glass bubble “imperfection” on the side, which looks like a microscopic organism.

A crafty tinsmith transformed this goblet in to a tumbler, after the stem and foot snapped off sometime during its early life.

A “witches hat” style tin replacement foot with concave bottom measures 3″ in diameter.

This unaltered goblet with the same design still maintains its original double knob stem.

Photo courtesy of eBay