Posts Tagged ‘metal lid’

Japanese Imari mystery vessel, c.1800

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

This unusual Japanese porcelain vessel has been a mystery to me ever since I purchased it in London in 2014. The dealer I bought it from knew little about it, so I have been researching it for the past few years. It stands 8.75 inches high and is decorated in the Imari style and color palette, including cobalt blue, iron red, green, and gilt accents. I asked some experts to weigh in on its function and age and their responses range from it being a shaving mug, an incense burner, to a tumba for drinking fermented millet. Most agree it was made during the Edo period (1603–1867).

The original lid and handle broke over 125 years ago and were replaced in Tibet (others suggest Turkey and Persia) with an ornate replacement adorned with turquoise, coral and blue glass beads. If anyone can shed more light on this mystery vessel, especially when it was made and its original use, I would greatly appreciate it.

Small black teapot, c.1830

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

This small earthenware one-cup teapot has an “Egyptian black” or “shining black” salt glazed finish with low relief floral design. It was made in England between 1820 and 1840 and measures 3.50 inches high and 6.5 inches from handle to spout. Due to its small size it is also known as a Bachelor’s teapot. Some collectors and dealers believe that these are part of a child’s tea set but they are actually fully functioning teapots.

It is not uncommon for teapots to lose their lids and that’s just what happened here. But this one didn’t remain unlidded for long, as a tinker, most likely in the late 1800s, made a well crafted replacement from tin, adding a mass produced pewter knob to complete the job. The new lid has developed a rich, warm patina over the past 100+ years, blending in nicely with the mellow tones of the dark teapot.

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This teapot with its original cover intact suggests what the lid on mine might have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of eBay

Small Meissen teapot, c.1750

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

This small porcelain teapot for one was made in Germany at the esteemed Meissen factory in the mid 1700s. It stands 3.75 inches high and 5.5 inches from handle to spout and is nicely painted with colorful floral sprays on both sides. The underside reveals the classic blue crossed swords mark.

It’s impossible to tell when the original lid went missing but later in life an ornate brass lid was placed atop of the lidless pot and a marriage was made. Although this lid looks nothing like the porcelain original which might have had a molded flower as a knob, it fits quite well and certainly does the trick.

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This teapot of similar form and decoration shows what the original lid on my teapot might have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of eBay

Derby teapot with silhouettes, c.1790

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

This striking oval porcelain teapot was made by Derby in England at the end of the 18th century and is decorated with neo-classic silhouette figures in black and gold as well as elaborately painted gilt decoration on the handle and spout. It stands 4-1/2″ tall and is 7-1/4″ wide from handle to spout and has a faint puce mark on the underside, dating it to around 1790.

It is not uncommon for teapots to lose their original lids over the years and I suppose that’s what happened to this pretty pot. In this case, a tinsmith fashioned a well fitting replacement lid in the style of the original. The raw metal was painted to match the original white body and gilt decoration was added. The resulting inventive repair is well done, hard to detect and allows the teapot to be used once again.

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“Not a make-do” Yixing teapot, c.1890

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

I purchased this little teapot thinking it was an example of Chinese Yixing ware with an elaborate early repair. It measures 7-1/2″ from spout to handle and is about 4″ high to top of finial. The shape appears to be typically Yixing but the brass lid, spout and horizontal strap, as well as the unusual incised mark on the underside, made me a bit suspicious. Now I feel the teapot dates from the latter part of the 19th century and was made in China for export to the Middle East, and that the mark on the base is Arabic. The brass spout and lid were most likely a part of the original design to help prolong the life of the teapot and not added to replace broken or missing parts. Learning to know the difference between a piece with an inventive repair and a piece that was designed with metal mounts can be a valuable, though sometimes a costly, lesson. Luckily, I did not pay very much for this “not-a-make-do” teapot.

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Soft paste parrots teapot, c.1770

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

During one of my early trips to the UK in search of ceramics with inventive repairs, I found this charming Chinese soft paste porcelain teapot decorated in the famille rose palette and painted with colorful parrots and flowers in polychrome enamels with gilt highlights. The teapot measures 5″ high and is 9″ wide from handle to spout and was made during the Qianlong period (1736-1796) for export to Europe and North America.

After a tumble, the fanciful spout, which most likely matched the bamboo-form handle, broke off and was replaced by a more streamline metal one with a decorative backplate. Curiously, the handle did not suffer from the fall and remains intact. There is no way of knowing what happened to the original lid, but it has been replaced by a 20th century silver plated cover that fits snugly but looks nothing like the porcelain original. If only this pot could talk!

This teapot with similar form shows what the original spout and lid on my teapot might have looked like before it took a tumble.

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Photo courtesy of Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge Inc.

Twice repaired bombe form teapot, c.1730

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

I am a sucker for a double “make-do” and this one delivers a one-two punch! This thick-walled porcelain teapot was made in China during the Yongzheng period (1722-1735) and boasts an unusual square-paneled, bombe form. It is delicately decorated with a blue floral motif and measures 5″ high by 7″ wide from spout to handle. At some point in its early life it was regrettably dropped, breaking the spout and rendering it unusable. Luckily a silversmith was able to fashion a finely made replacement spout and once again the tea flowed. That is until many years later when the lid dropped. This time a tinsmith created a new metal replacement, incorporating a small turned-wood knob as a stand-in finial. The replacement lid is much cruder than the new spout and I believe about a century separates the two repairs. Although I pity the people who let the teapot and lid slip from their grasps, I am glad the owners had the good sense to remedy their unfortunate situations and repair both pieces in such an interesting fashion.

Miniature vase to scent bottle transformation, c.1700

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Chinese Kangxi period (1662-1722) miniature porcelain vase, decorated in blue underglaze floral design. Costly miniatures such as this were collected by adults and were not necessarily made for children, although they are still commonly referred to as doll’s house miniatures.

After the neck broke off, an unmarked chased silver neck with chain & stopper was added, most likely in Amsterdam, sometime in the early to mid 1800s, turning the vase into a scent bottle. This is my favorite type of inventive repair; one where an object’s original function is altered and transformed into another.

Scent bottle stands a mere 3-1/4″ tall.

Please check out my other doll’s house miniature vases from the same period showing similar striking transformations.

This miniature vase, with nearly identical form and decoration, shows the original form with an intact neck.

Japanese teapot, c.1730

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

A small pear-shaped porcelain teapot made in Japan during the Edo middle period (1704-1800), with underglaze Imari decoration of birds and flowers in cobalt blue, iron red and gold.

Measures 3-1/2″ high, 5-1/4″ wide.

Silver replacement lid with chain, engraved decoration and Dutch hallmarks is from the early to mid 1800’s.

This nearly identical teapot shows what the original lid on mine would have looked like before the silversmith got a hold of it. Thanks Hans!

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Photo courtesy of Pater Gratia Oriental Art

The New York Ceramics Fair

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

This past weekend I attended the annual New York Ceramics Fair, held for the first time in the ballroom of the Bohemian National Hall, a beautiful Renaissance Revival style building from 1895, gorgeously renovated in 2008 with a striking modern interior.

I enjoyed seeing dealers I had met during past visits to the UK, as well as making new acquaintances with other knowledgeable and friendly vendors. Most were curious about my “unusual” interest in repaired ceramics & glassware but were happy to share their thoughts and insight with me. Although, I was a bit taken a back by an American dealer who was less than friendly when asked if she had any pieces with early repairs. It seems I unintentionally offended her by implying that she might be selling less than perfect goods, which I certainly was not.

John Howard brought a magnificent and rare model of Wellington on his horse Copenhagen. Towering at over 19″ high, this is probably the largest pottery figure made of Wellington from the Staffordshire potters just after the Battle of Waterloo, c.1815.

There are old tinker repairs to the legs which were made some 150 years ago.

An actual horse with broken legs would certainly have been sent to the glue factory. And perhaps the glue would have been used to mend broken pottery pieces.

Simon Westman, a dealer from Grays in London, brought with him two different ceramic items with inventive repairs.

A small pearlware jug decorated in Pratt colors with a tin replacement handle from Staffordshire, c.1800. This jug and repair is similar to my own “Sailor’s Farewell & Return” jug, also with a chipped spout in the same location.

Remains of the broken handle extend over the top of the replaced metal handle.

This saltglazed stoneware teapot with wonderful enamelled decoration was made in Staffordshire, c.1760.

The replacement lid is from a teapot of the same material and period, with an added metal flange to make for a tighter fit.

An unusual blown glass roemer from the Netherlands, dated 1662, was shown by Christopher Sheppard, also from London.

A 19th century pewter base replaces the original ribbed foot, which would have been built up out of glass threads.

This is what the original glass base might have looked like.

An English redware teapot c.1695, courtesy of Garry Atkins, has two inventive repairs.

A silver replacement spout with scalloped decoration stands in place of the long lost redware original.

The broken handle has been replaced with a rattan-covered bronze handle, well over 150 years ago.