Posts Tagged ‘staples/rivets’

Chinese mug with multiple repairs, c.1750

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

This bell-shaped footed porcelain mug was made in China in the middle 1700s. It has floral decoration in the Famille Rose palette and stands 5.5 inches tall.

It appears that someone literally loved this mug to pieces. I imagine that the person who dropped it must have been heartbroken as they watched it tumble to the ground, resulting in multiple breaks, chips, and cracks. The early metal repairs, done over 150 years ago, include a band along the rim to stabilize cracks, braces on the handle, and rivets to reinforce four symmetrical chips. Much like how time can mend a broken heart, a skilled restorer did an excellent, yet eccentric job with this mug break-up.








Davenport Hydra jug, c.1810

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

This octagonal shaped jug with a snake form handle was made in Staffordshire, England, in the early 1800s. It is decorated with a cobalt blue geometric border, chrysanthemums, and leaves, with red and green overpainting and gilt highlights. On the underside is the stamp “DAVENPORT STONE CHINA,” which dates this jug to 1805-1820. It stands 7 inches high and is 6.5 inches wide from lip to handle.

It appears that well over 100 years ago this jug had a great fall, but unlike Humpty Dumpty, it WAS put back together again. A “china mender” used 27 metal staples to secure the cracks, adding an unintentional secondary pattern to the already busy design. For extra precaution, red wax was applied to the cracks on the inside, as a deterrent against possible leakage.

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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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The Kingman Tavern Museum mystery

Saturday, June 11th, 2016

In the small hamlet of Cummington, Massachusetts, home of the esteemed ceramics gallery Ferrin Contemporary, sits the Kingman Tavern Museum, a small historical museum overflowing with antiques of local interest, donated mainly by the town’s residents. The collection includes a full scale replica of an early 1900s country store, miniature rooms by artist Alice Steele, and vintage clothes, tools, and household items. Among them is a curious set of porcelain plates riddled with early staple repairs.

On a shelf sitting alongside a handful of innocuous-looking plates and tableware are two stacks of thick walled bowls and platters, each with pronounced staple repairs. The cobalt blue stylized rabbit pattern is unfamiliar to me but appears to be American, late 19th century, and perhaps restaurant china. No one associated with the museum seems to know anything about the set or how they got there. If anyone recognizes the pattern please let me know and help solve this mystery!







Miniature cup with staples, c.1910

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

This is the one of the smallest antiques with inventive repair I have ever seen. Made in England by the Crown Staffordshire Porcelain Co. Ltd. in the early 1900s, the cup is a mere 3/4 inches high and the matching saucer has a diameter of just 1 inch. Both are decorated with pink flowers on a cobalt and gilt ground. The cup is stamped in green on the underside CROWN above the image of a crown. The same mark is barely visible on the underside of the saucer.

The smallest of the 3 metal staples on the cup measures a mind-boggling 1/8 of an inch long. After the staples were applied, they were painted over to blend in and appear less offensive. I can only imagine the precision and skill needed to make this delicate repair.







Here is an entire miniature tea service also made by Crown.


Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Worcester inkwell & quill holder, c.1810

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

This gorgeous porcelain drum form inkwell with conical reservoir and 3 quill holes is hand painted in polychrome enamels with gilt highlights. Made by Worcester around 1810, it is marked on the underside in red script “Goldfinch / Chamberlain’s Worcester.” It measures nearly 2.75 inches high with a diameter of just over 2.5 inches.

I can just imagine the dreaded day, well over 150 years ago, when this expensive inkwell dropped to the hard floor, breaking into 4 pieces. A skilled tinker or itinerant “china mender” came to the rescue by adding 7 iron staples and a copper band around the top, enabling the inkwell to function again. Putty was added to help seal gaps left along the rim and for added assurance that ink would not seep through the bonded cracks.









This is another rare example of a Chamberlains Worcester inkwell, minus the early repairs that mine has.

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Photo courtesy of The Saleroom

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?

Photo courtesy of 1stdibs

Chinese porcelain plate with staples, c.1710

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

This early 1700s hexagonal porcelain plate was made in China during the Kangxi Period (1662-1722). It has an unglazed hexagonal rim and foot rim, with a cobalt blue underglaze garden design and floral border. It  measures 9 inches in diameter.

After the plate took a tumble, it was put back together using three large metal staples, aka rivets, as well as an unusual pewter plug. Unlike the majority of the staple repairs I come across, the holes drilled to accommodate the staples go all the way through to the front, resulting in a nice dot pattern. With strong graphics appearing on the front and back of the plate, I deliberately display both sides.

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Wu Shuang Pu cup, c.1870

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

This Chinese porcelain cup is decorated in cobalt blue with a Peerless Hero figure, stacked bottles and calligraphy taken from Wu Shuang Pu (Table of Peerless Heroes), a late 17th century book of woodcut prints by Jin Guliang. The cup measures 2-3/4 inches high, with an opening diameter of 3-1/2 inches.

After the cup broke in half, over 100 years ago, it was repaired with pairs of metal staples set in cement. Judging from the flattened lozenge-shaped staples made from repurposed wire, this repair was most likely done in the Middle East where itinerant china menders set up shop directly in the streets. But even with the doubled up staples and binding cement, more than a few staples have jumped ship, leaving just tiny empty holes as a reminder of its time in the china mender’s hands.







Chinese Mandarin cup, c.1760

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

This cup is a mess! It’s a 2.5 inch high Chinese porcelain cup from the Qianlong period (1736-1795) with multi-color enamel decoration in the Mandarin style. Well over 150 years ago when it dropped and shattered into 12 pieces, it was most likely taken to an itinerant “dish mender” who carefully applied 15 metal staples to bring it back to life. A bit of plaster was used to fill in a few gaps left by lost fragments. Past owners really must have cherished this little mug, as it managed to survive many centuries looking like this. As my grandmother would have said, “Oy Vey!”

This cup, in much better condition than mine, shows what an intact example looks like.


Photo courtesy of eBay