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

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