This magnificent ceramic bowl is about 20” in diameter. About eighteen of them were made and it is considered one of the iconic pieces of Art Deco ceramics. It portrays symbols of New York night life in the 1930s, hence its name: the Jazz Bowl. Two of them were purchased by Eleanor Roosevelt – one for their private home and one for the White House. One of them, however, seems to have been purchased and forgotten – and it wound up with a plant in it for twenty years. The ceramic glaze hydrated under constant contact with water, and when we got the bowl the inside was completely white.
Luckily, it was only the surface of the glaze that was hydrated, and we were able to invade it with a light-bodied optical epoxy that consolidated the hydrated layer and made it transparent again. The surface was still rough, however, and needed to be coated with a glaze and then hand-rubbed. It was a lot of work, but the result was beautiful.