Mount Washington Glass

Mount Washington was established by William Libbey in 1837 and after moving to New Bedford in 1870 began to produce American art glass for which it was hugely successful. It made some remarkable ranges and patented many types of glass.

One such glass was Burmese glass, with a satin or plush finish. This finish was created by exposing the glass to acid and it is unique in its creamy yellow and peach colourings. The peach colouring comes from a second firing when the base of the piece stays cooler and areas at the top are heated to such an extent that the peach colour reverts back to yellow giving a distinctive two-tone effect.

The creation and recipe of Burmese glass was patented by Mount Washington in 1885 and early pieces are usually very simple. Over 300 hundred shapes were created in the Burmese range and by 1888 the shapes and decoration had become more elaborate. Decoration usually consisted of enamelled or applied patterns.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

In 1886 the company patented a very simple glass called ‘Peachblow’, sometimes referred to as Peachskin, which again had an attractive two-tone effect this time in pinks and greys. Unfortunately it never had the commercial success of the Burmese range and was only produced for two years, ironically making it is very collectable today.

One of the other ranges Mount Washington is most famous for is Amberina, often called simply Amber-Rose. The fame is due to a lawsuit with the New England Glass Company who also produced glass in this style and the two companies’ work is very difficult to distinguish between. Amberina is a clear coloured glass with added gold to create brilliant amber to red shading.
Art glass of all types is very popular in the salerooms today and Mount Washington ranges should be on everyone’s shopping list.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Marbles

Marbles of the antique glass variety are very popular with collectors particularly the German handmade ones produced from the 1860s until the outbreak of the First World War. The handmade marbles can be easily identified by their pontil mark; a slightly rough area where the marble was removed from the pontil rod.

The German swirls were the most common handmade marble but within this category there are five different types; the latticino core as the name suggests with a lattice core, the solid core which was either cylindrical or ridged, the divided core which had multiple strands in the middle, the ribbon core which was usually a single ribbon but could be two and finally the complex core so named
because it used more than one technique within a single marble.
What makes the area of marble collecting so interesting is that within these five types of swirls there lie other categories and sub-types. For example, there are mists which are created by overlaying colours near the surface of the marble, mica which denotes marbles with designs incorporating silver flakes, or onionskin where the marble typically has a white opaque layer covered with panels of colour. One very desirable subcategory is Lutz marbles, those with goldstone decoration; flecks of gold within their designs made from ground copper. Marbles using this
technique weren’t produced until the early 1900s.

Value often lies in complex, intricate and symmetrical designs as well as bright, multicoloured marbles, with certain colours such as blue and red more popular due to their rarity.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Monart, Vasart & Wallis

In the New English Dictionary the definition of a Collector is “one who collects”, another  “a gatherer of rarities”. I start with these interesting definitions because recently I met a beautifully matured “Collector” and a lovely lady called Willa Jackson and she most certainly was a “gatherer of rarities”.

Willa is one of the most fascinating ladies I have met for many years and over her long and interesting life she has accumulated a wonderful collection of many, many things. What is so exciting for the Sheffield Auction Gallery is that Willa has instructed us with the sale of all her collections.

As part of our Fine Art auction on Friday 29th April we have the first part of the Monart and Vasart glass Collections, the Hugh Wallis Collection and her collection of paintings.

A small selection of a large single-owner collection of Monart and Vasart Glass
A small selection of a large single-owner collection of Monart and Vasart Glass

The interest in the paintings comes from the fact that they are almost all 20th century or contemporary female artists. A wonderful mix of fabulous talent.

Hugh Wallis was a Coppersmith working from a studio in Altrincham, Cheshire, in the early 1900’s. He invented a process to inlay copper with pewter and much of his work with copper used this technique, many examples were trays and chargers.

Monart glass was made from the 1920’s at the Moncreiff Glassworks in Perthshire by glassmaker Salvador Ysart. The Monart name came from “Mon” in Moncrieff and “art” in Ysart. The glass is beautiful, the rest is history.

Vasart glass is similar, produced from the 1940’s by Salvador and two of his sons.

This is only the beginning of the Jackson Collection, look out for more in future auctions.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Chance Handkerchief Vases

The Chance brothers, Lucas and William had been working together as ‘Chance Brothers and Company’ at the Smethwick glassworks in the West Midlands since 1832 when William bought into Lucas’ business to save it from bankruptcy. The company had a mixed history but are probably best known for their handkerchief vases, which were actually an imitation of an Italian original. Paolo Venini and Fulvio Bianconi designed the first handkerchief vase or ‘Vaso Fazoletto’ in 1949.

Chance handkerchief vases provided buyers with a far more affordable alternative and quickly became popular in their own right. Chance took the ‘handkerchief’ metaphor one step further than their Italian counterparts adopting not just the look and shape but also embracing the material and design to resemble actual handkerchiefs incorporating polka dots, striped and gingham patterns.

Their first vase was produced in 1957 and they were in production until 1981 with new designs regularly available. The aforementioned ‘Gingham’ for example wasn’t released until 1977. The handkerchief vase was made in a huge number of designs including a large variety of textured and coloured glass and more dramatic examples such as the ‘Pop Art’ and ‘Psychedelic’ designs of the 1960s.

The designs were applied to the glass through the process of screen-printing. This was done before the shaping of the vase and allowed the transfer to be heat-fixed during the shaping process. Squares of sheet glass were re-heated to 700°C so they became pliable.

The larger vases were then formed by manually pushing the sides with a willow stick while the smaller vases took the shape naturally themselves. Chance handkerchief vases were manufactured in huge quantities and are very easily found today so the rarer sizes and designs are more coveted by collectors.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Harrach Glass

Harrach Glass has often been overlooked or had its incredible work wrongly attributed to other glasshouses, due to Harrach blanks being used by many prestigious Bohemian glasshouses in the 19th century. In recent history this has been rectified and Harrach Glass is gradually receiving the recognition it deserves.

When Harrach Glassworks began production in 1712 it was situated in the village of Neuwelt, Bohemia which later joined with other local villages to form the town of Harrachov in the remote mountains of what is now the Czech Republic. The 19th century is considered the ‘golden age’ of Harrach Glass and the company took part in many important international exhibitions during this time and exported huge amounts of their wares to other European countries. The acclaim they received at these World Exhibitions gave them a flurry of new customers including royal courts and prominent aristocratic families.

At the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in London in 1851, Harrach Glassworks won first prize getting a gold medal and badge of honour. Their success came with their ability to demonstrate huge skill in many areas of glass production combined with the diverse range of designs including, at this particular exhibition, Gothic Revival and Oriental.

Many examples of Harrach Glass are unmarked, due to their paper and foil labels being lost. Fortunately the factory also signed many pieces so collectors can get “a feel” for the wonderful variety and production techniques. Recognising the shapes and styles of unmarked items, together with identifying the quite superb quality, makes attribution not only a joy, but an art.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Lalique Perfume Bottles

The glass market was moving forward, old techniques such as acid etching and enamelling were being adapted to create new styles and new products to fit changing lifestyles and habits. The perfume bottle was a perfect example.

Rene Lalique (1860-1945) began his career designing jewellery, he began working with glass in the 1890s and opened his first glass shop in Paris on the square “Place Vendôme” in 1905. His work caught the eye of perfumer Franҫois Coty who had a shop nearby and Coty invited Lalique into a partnership initially designing labels for his perfumes and later the glass bottles. Their partnership revolutionised the perfume industry; it was the first time perfumes were packaged in distinctive bottles evocative of the fragrance contained within and it was a huge success. By the 1920s Lalique has three factories and produced exquisite perfume bottles for over 60 fashionable and desirable perfumers.

The perfume bottles in highest demand now are the more unusual or abstract with inventive designs and forms. Most bottles had modern and stylized designs following the Art Deco style. Early examples feature more flowing lines, floral designs and figural etching. Some bottles were formed in bold shapes with oversized decorative stoppers, occasionally more than one stopper could be designed for a bottle.

A 1920's Lalique Glass Perfume Bottle for Rallet s Soir. Sold at Sheffield Auction Gallery for £3,000
A 1920’s Lalique Glass Perfume Bottle for Rallet s Soir. Sold at Sheffield Auction Gallery for £3,000

Bottles that are sealed with their original contents remaining or bottles with their original outer packaging still intact are considerably more valuable and thus more popular amongst collectors. Bottles made or designed after 1945 will not feature the initial “R” in their mark as this was never used after Rene Lalique’s death. The “R” is often added to later pieces to make them appear earlier and thus more desirable, so beware.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Clichy Paperweights

Paperweights made during the golden era of paperweights (c. 1840-55) are hugely popular with collectors particularly those from the three important French factories: Baccarat, St Louis and Clichy.

The patterns in paperweights are made by arranging tiny sections cut from individually coloured and crafted rods or canes into a mould and then setting in clear molten glass. The more intricate the design the more skill required to execute it. This technique called is ‘millefiori’ and was used by all three factories to produce some remarkable paperweights. Paperweights were also made containing motifs such as animals or flowers and this was done by sculpting the glass over a small flame before setting. Clichy’s ribbon-bound bouquets are considered some of the finest examples ever made.

Clichy Paperweights
Clichy Paperweights

The Verrerie de Clichy at Clichy-la-Garenne, France, was founded in 1837. Clichy paperweights were never dated and few are actually signed. Baccarat and St Louis would sign their canes but Clichy only occasionally marked theirs with a ‘C’. The signature or trademark of a Clichy paperweight was the use of the ‘Clichy rose’ generally in white, pink or sometimes pale yellow or the ‘C’ scroll millefiori included in some designs, both of which were unique to Clichy.

Clichy regularly used concentric rings of millefiori in their designs as well as garland patterns sometimes encircling motifs or sulphides and they generally used more soft colours than the other French factories. Finally, Clichy paperweights can easily be identified by their weight; they were made from boracic glass rather than lead crystal making them much lighter but still retaining the clear, fine finish.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Mdina Glass

Mdina glass, as the name suggests, was produced in Mdina, Malta originally by Michael Harris who was previously a glass tutor at the Royal College of Art. He founded Mdina Glass in 1968 alongside Eric Dobson, a former colleague, where it continues to thrive. Harris actually left Malta in 1972 and set up another studio on the Isle of Wight while Dobson remained and took charge of the factory.

A Mdina Glass Vase
A Mdina Glass Vase

Within a few years Mdina glass was exporting to Italy and America and exhibiting at international trade fairs. However, much of it was produced for sale to the tourist market and this was equally as successful.

They made an array of items including vases, bowls and particularly popular, perfume bottles. They were made of heavy, thick glass and generally have a signature or sticker on the base. Mdina glass is instantly recognizable due to the limited number of colours that were used; colours synonymous with the sea and beaches. They used turquoise, tan, aqua alongside other blues and greens. Orange, pink and white colours were introduced at a later date and do not hold the appeal to collectors as the original colours.

The majority of early Mdina pieces collected today are the smaller items as these were more popular with tourists. Larger pieces are rarer and thus more expensive. Early examples from the ‘60s and ‘70s are more sought after as are designs signed by Michael Harris himself.

Joseph Said, a promising apprentice of Harris’ progressed quickly after his departure and took over as owner in 1985 when Dobson also returned to the UK. It is a true family business now as his children are also employed in differing roles within the company.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website