Posts Tagged ‘silver’

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

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

Chinese teapot with butterflies, c.1780

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

This porcelain globular-form footed teapot was made in China in the late 1700s and is decorated in the famille rose palette with flowers, butterflies, and a diaper pattern border along the rim and on the lid. It measures 4 inches high.

A sturdy metal spout stands at attention, replacing the original porcelain one that was damaged. At a later date, a metal chain was attached to keep the lid from going astray. I have numerous metal replacement spouts just like this and feel that repairers had a stock of them on hand to be attached to damaged teapots. Look for an upcoming post where I compare and contrast similarly made replacement spouts.

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

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Photo courtesy of 1stdibs

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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Chinese carved carnelian brooch, c.1920

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

This oval carved carnelian brooch with a pierced floral pattern in a simple silver setting was made in China around 1920. It measures 1.25 inches by 1.5 inches. After it dropped and broke in half, a resourceful jeweler laced it back together with silver wire, using the pierced holes in the design.

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Low Chelsea ewer with Gorham silver handle, c.1785

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

This porcelain Low Chelsea ewer shape cream jug with spiral molding was made by New Hall in London, c.1785. The floral spray decoration is hand painted in polychrome enamels. It measures 2.5 inches high and 4.75 inches from lip to handle.

A lovely jug indeed, but what I find so special is the rare replacement handle, which was added about 100 years after the jug was made. Perhaps a descendant of the original owner, who must have been quite well off and engaged the services of John Gorham of Providence, Rhode Island, to fashion a custom sterling silver replacement handle. I own and treasure just a handful of hallmarked silver repairs, but this is the first piece I have encountered with an American hallmark, which pinpoints the repair to 1880.

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Here’s an example with similar form showing what the original handle on mine might have looked like.

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Photo courtesy of Bonhams

Happy 4th of July 2016!

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans.

And to my friends in the UK…sorry about that.

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Meissen teapot, c.1770

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

This hard paste porcelain teapot was made at the Meissen factory in Germany during the Marconi Period (1763 – 1774). It measures 4.5 inches high and 8 inches from handle to spout. It is decorated in polychrome overglaze enamels with a flower motif on both sides of the pot and on top of the lid. A cobalt mark of crossed swords and a dot can be found on the underside. The noticeable surface wear suggests that it was well loved and heavily used over the past 250 years.

You can guess that this teapot found its way into my collection due to its nicely done silver replacement spout. Repairs such as this were commonly done on spouts, as they were prone to chipping. This teapot was owned by a former French teacher at my high school who lives in Brussels and has been an early supporter of this blog. Merci beaucoup, Marienne!

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This teapot with similar form and decoration still as its original spout intact.

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Photo courtesy of LiveAuctioneers

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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Mandarin mug to jug transformation, c.1840

Monday, February 15th, 2016

This is one of the more unusual transformation pieces I have in my collection. Much like the butterfly painted on the reverse side, it began life as one thing and transformed into something entirely different. I call it a metamorphosis mug. Made between 1830 and 1850, this Chinese export porcelain mug in the Famille Rose Mandarin palette was converted to a milk jug with the addition of a silver spout. It has two decorated panels, one with a courtyard scene and the other with images of exotic birds, butterflies, fruits and flowers. It stands 4-1/2 inches high and is 5-1/2 inches wide from handle to spout.

The silver mount has an 1871 London hallmark. Although I have many examples of silver spouts, handles and lids, it is rare to find hallmarks that date and place a repair. I particularly like the ornate sparrow beak spout.

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This mug was happy being a mug and felt no need to spread its wings and become a jug.

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Photo courtesy of Mimi’s Antiques