Mother of Pearl Opera Glasses

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  These gilt brass and mother of pearl opera glasses (circa 1881) were in need of some cosmetic restoration. Thankfully, the lenses and mechanism were in excellent condition. The original adhesive used to apply the mother of pearl had become discolored and desiccated, separating the mother of pearl from the turned metal substrate. With the use of high-grade epoxies, we were able to apply the fallen pieces and seal what remained intact to prevent further deterioration. The contours were shaped to match the original surface ...

Handel Lamp Shade

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We have seen countless examples of Handel lamp shades over the years. The earlier forms depict expertly painted landscapes that glow from within. Reverse painted enamel creates a sense of depth when viewed through the delicately patterned exterior and the light often resembles that of the setting sun. This particular shade came to us in dozens of pieces, but we have dealt with much worse. We reassembled every last piece provided to us, including some as small as a grain of rice, and the reconstructed ...

Alabaster Bust

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Alabaster is one of the softer materials we work with. Even the specially formulated sandpaper developed by our studio will damage the surface. It takes patience and a steady hand to restore something of this nature without detracting from the translucency and amber color that the stone acquires over time. We use durable, non-yellowing adhesives and color-matched, translucent fillers for a quality restoration that will stand the test of time without discoloring or deteriorating.

Blanc de Chine Figure

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This Blanc de Chine figure likely depicts the Taoist immortal, Magu. She is often shown as a beautiful young woman, adorned with flowers, holding a ewer containing the elixir of life in hands with long, delicate fingernails, and is accompanied by a deer, a symbol of immortality. Similar items, also known as Dehua porcelain, were created as early as the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). This example, however, likely dates from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). The clear glaze over the white porcelain can create a ...

Washington Spring Bottle

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This very rare example of early American glass once contained mineral water and has survived to this day to be prized by collectors. Many pieces of everyday glassware from the early 19th century have since been discarded or destroyed. Those that have survived often find their way to us. This particular piece was subject to a poorly done repair. Thankfully, we have the means to undo such mistakes without damaging the glass in any way. Collectors rely on our care, attention to ...

Bente Hansen Sculpture

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This piece by contemporary ceramic artist Bente Hansen was a perfect candidate for our more conservative restoration techniques. The fine stoneware was reassembled almost seamlessly allowing the restorer to fill the losses and match the glaze with minimal impact to the original aesthetic of the sculpture. Art pottery is one of our specialties and we were delighted to see such a fine example coming to us by a Danish artist.  

Jazz Bowl

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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 1930’s, 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 ...

Wooden Music Box

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This is the ornate case of a 19th c. German music box. Originally it could play several tunes (fewer than an MP3 player, but the same idea) and the case was a magnificently detailed wooden baroque scene of cherubs and ornate vegetation. Sitting for a while in water, however, revealed that it is actually made from glued sawdust (a precursor of pressboard) with a thin veneer of dark hardwood that had apparently been steamed and pressed into a very elaborately ...

Wood-Handled Knives

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These were two boxed sets of very high-quality Sheffield steel - steak knives in one box, and carving implements in the other. Made in the 1950’s, they were given pearl plastic handles which were originally strong and resilient. The makers probably thought that they were superior to the somewhat fragile mother-of-pearl that might originally have been used. These boxes lay unopened for about fifty years, and upon opening revealed that the plastic handles had completely degraded – leaving the Sheffield ...

Vintage Bathroom Sink

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There are times when a sink or other porcelain fixture is worth saving. Sometimes it is part of a color suite, and the whole set would need to be changed out (exact color matches in porcelain replacements are extremely hard to find except in white). The durability and design of such a piece may also be irreplaceable, as there was a time when plumbing fixtures were made to last as long as possible. This sink had two problems – there was ...