Posts Tagged ‘porcelain’

London shape Coalport teapot, c.1812

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

This stately London shape porcelain teapot was made by the Coalport Porcelain Works of England, c.1812. It has a linear pattern in gold with red accents of birds perched on the branches of a fantastical tree, complete with a nest resembling an upturned straw boater hat. It measures 6.5 inches high and 10 inches from handle to spout.

Naturally, I prefer the side riddled with 21 metal staples, as I feel they add a layer of unintentional whimsy to the printed pattern beneath. The final photo shows the teapot on display at the exhibit Make-Do’s: Curiously Repaired Antiques, on view now through October 1 at Boscobel House and Gardens. Come see it, along with hundreds of other examples from my collection of antiques with inventive repairs.

 

“Disgrace is Worse than Death” armorial plate, c.1755

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

This octagonal porcelain armorial plate measures 8.5 inches in diameter and was made in China for export to England in the mid 1700s. It has floral decoration in the famille rose palette with gilt highlights and features a prominent coat of arms. It was part of a large dinnerware service, consisting of hundreds of matching pieces, each with the same hand painted decoration.

After this once broken plate was repaired with 4 sturdy metal staples over 200 years ago, it was most likely weeded out from the rest of the set later in its life by an antiques dealer who didn’t want imperfect pieces mingling with untarnished ones. I found the plate at a small antiques fair in London a few years ago and brought it back with me to New York City, where it now coexists with other former orphans, each scarred but accepted for their imperfections.

From Chinese Armorial Porcelain by David Sanctuary Howard, p.539:
“The arms, beneath a knight’s helm, are of Shard of Horsleydown in Surrey, Argent a bend sable, in chief a bugle horn of the last in base a stag’s head couped proper attire of the third; crest, A lion passant per pale or and sable guttee counterchanged, resting the dexter paw on a bugle horn of the second; impaling Clark of Sanford, Azure two bars or, on a chief of the last three escallops sable (see Clarke P22); motto ‘Pejus letho flagitium’ (‘Disgrace is worse than Death’).
These arms were borne by Sir Abraham Shard, of Kennington in Surrey, who died before this service was made in August 1746 (and from whom these arms the helm was probably copied). The service was probably made for his son or nephew or for another descendant of Sir Isaac Shard, whose daughter Martha married about 1710 Roger Hill (uncle of Abigail Lockey, third wife of Lewis Way – see Way with Lockey in pretence, P18).”

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This large serving platter is from the same dinnerware service as my plate. Too bad it doesn’t have early staple repairs.

Photo courtesy of Dubey’s Art & Antiques

Chinese Imari teapot with double repair, c.1720

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

This bullet-form porcelain teapot has it all: good looks, great form, a winning personality, and two different early inventive repairs. It was made in China for export during the Kangxi period (1662-1722) and is decorated with floral sprays in the Japanese Imari palette with bold colors and strong graphics. It measures 4 inches high and 6.5 inches wide from handle to spout.

At some point in its early life, a spoutless teapot was brought to a repairer who made a simple metal replacement spout. Not long after, it was brought back to be fitted for a wicker covered bronze replacement handle. A friend once showed me a similarly shaped teapot that had met such an end. And by merely sealing up the hole left by the missing spout and grinding down the handle terminals, the original owner lost a teapot but gained a sugar bowl. As much as I marvel at the ingenuity of that transformation, I am glad my broken teapot is still a teapot.

This teapot with similar form and decoration shows what the original handle and spout might have looked like on mine.

Photo courtesy of Alain Truong

Chinese Qianlong plate, c.1750

Friday, April 7th, 2017

This plate was made in China during the Qianlong period (1736–1795) for export to North America and Europe. It measures nearly 9.25 inches in diameter and is decorated in cobalt blue over a light blue ground.

Well over 225 years ago after the plate dropped and a large chunk along the rim broke off, it was taken to a china mender who reattached the broken pieces using metal staples. Hand marked in red on the underside is “Mrs. Lou Pearson”, which I assume is the name of the owner who brought the plate in for repair. Signed pieces such as this are uncommon and bring us one step closer to the mostly undocumented world of the men and women who did these marvelous, anonymous repairs.

Chinese mug with metal handle, c.1780

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

This bell-shaped footed porcelain mug was made in China in the late 1700s for export to Europe and North America. It is painted in the Famille Rose palette with polychrome enamels and depicts a domestic scene with family members gathered around a large green table. I particularly like the porcelain teapot and cups on the table, as well as vases and garden seats nearby. It measures 6.25 inches tall and 4.5 inches across the top.

At some point in this mug’s early life something went awry. We will never know for sure if a scullery maid, a small child or a cat knocked over the mug, causing the handle to snap off. But rather than toss out the broken pieces, the owner brought them to a clever chap who made a simple bronze replacement handle. Many years later the handle was painted white, and now is discolored a sickly yellow. I am tempted to strip off the offensive veneer to reveal the rich bronze color beneath, but for now I will keep it as is.

This mug, with similar form and decoration, shows what the original loop handle on my mug might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of The Saleroom

French ‘Cornflower’ pattern jug, c.1778

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

This hard paste porcelain baluster-form jug with sparrow beak spout was made in Paris, France, by Andre Leboeuf at the Fabrique de la Reine factory, circa 1778. It is hand decorated in the ‘Cornflower’ pattern, also known as ‘Angoulême’ or ‘aux Barbeaux’, a favorite of Marie Antoinette and Thomas Jefferson. It measures 4.75 inches high and is marked on the underside with the letter ‘A’ and a gilt crown. Work of this kind is known as Porcelaine à la Reine and Old Paris Porcelain.

Unlike obvious repairs, such as replacement handles, spouts and lids, this jug possesses a chip off the old block, or more precisely, a chip off an old pot. The lip must have been so badly damaged that a jeweler or china mender had to graft on a piece from another vessel. The replacement piece, unintentionally cut in the shape of the State of Nevada, was fitted to the enlarged hole in the jug, just like a jigsaw puzzle, using two small brass rivets along the rim. An adhesive compound was applied along the edges to seal the deal. Not the most elegant of repairs but this jug must have meant so much to its original owner that a delicate jug with a Nevada-shaped patch was better than no jug at all.

This jug shows what the missing cover and metal mount on my jug might have looked like before Napoleon smashed it to the floor.

Photo courtesy of Rouillac

Chinese teapot with wood handle, c.1750

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

This beautiful porcelain teapot was made in China in the mid-1700s and is decorated with cherry blossoms, bamboo, and birds using cobalt blue underglaze with red and gilt overglaze enamels. It stands 5 inches high and is 7.25 inches wide from handle to spout. The matching lid has a skep shaped knob.

For me, the real beauty of this teapot is in the overscaled wood replacement handle, which would look more at home on a pewter teapot of the same period. I have many teapots in my collection with similar wood replacement handles all made with an electric log splitter, each with slight variations. I find the fanciful carved wood handle is in direct contrast to the simple globular form of the body, making for a quirky mashup. Naturally, I prefer this unique example over a “perfect” one any day.

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This teapot with similar form shows what the original loop handle on mine might have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of Live Auctioneers

Chinese dollhouse snuff bottle, c.1700

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

I seem to have a thing for miniatures. I marvel at the craftsmanship of creating tiny versions of larger pieces, which requires more time and skill, as well as good eyesight and nimble fingers. When I was at a street market in Egypt many years ago, I saw hundreds of lanterns made of tin and painted glass. One vendor had minuscule working lanterns, no more than 3 inches, which held tiny birthday cake candles. Even though they were a fraction of the size of the other lanterns, they were the same price and took just as long to make, if not longer.

So you can imagine how I was doubly thrilled when I found this miniature porcelain dollhouse snuff bottle with an inventive repair. It was made in China during the Kangxi period (1662-1722), has blue underglaze decoration of figures, and measures 2.75 inches tall. But there’s more to the story, as this bottle started its life as a vase. Well over 150 years ago, after its neck broke off, a silversmith added a silver collar with etched decoration, cork, and a top attached to a spoon, transforming the broken vase into a functional snuff bottle. It has a sword shaped Dutch hallmark dating the repair to the mid-1800s.

I now have five tiny Chinese dollhouse miniatures in my collection and try not to inhale too deeply around them.

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This pair of miniature vases with similar form and decoration show what the original neck on my vase looked like before it was transformed into a snuff bottle.

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Photo courtesy of Santos

Minton Bute shape cup, c.1810

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

This bone china Bute shape tea cup is decorated with two-tone blue flowers, puce tendrils, gilt foliage and bands. Measuring 2.25 inches high with an opening of 3.25 inches, it was made by Minton in Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England, in the early 1800s. The Minton mark and pattern number 76 is handwritten in blue on the underside.

When this delicate cup slipped from the hands of a previous owner, unusual symmetrical breaks resulted. It was most likely reassembled by an itinerant china mender in the 1800s who used nine brass staples to put the four porcelain puzzle pieces back in place. The integration of the staples, along with the existing floral motif, create an unexpected and exciting new pattern.

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This tea cup with matching saucer is shown without staples.

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Photo courtesy of WorthPoint

Chinese jug with pewter handle, c.1775

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

This porcelain cream jug with baluster form and a sparrow beak spout was made in China during the Qianlong period (1736-96.) It is decorated in the Famille Rose palette and measures 4 inches high and is about 4 inches wide. The floral swag decoration suggests it was made for the French market.

I can just imagine a French maid in the early 1800s, clearing the breakfast table, grabbing this little jug with fingers still dripping with butter from making croissants, and letting it slip and tumble to the ground. Sadly, the cover and handle must have broken into too many pieces to repair, so a tinker was engaged and created a pewter replacement handle. Not sure if the shattered cover or the maid with shattered nerves were ever replaced.

This jug with similar form and decoration shows what the the original handle and cover on mine looked like before it took a tumble.

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Photo courtesy of Andrew Dando