Saleroom Life

by Sheffield Auction Gallery

Month: August 2015

Moulded Jugs

A few years before Victoria came to the throne moulded jugs had developed into an art form. Almost every potter of the time began producing them and on the whole all followed each other as the moulded jug developed and changed throughout the century.

The jugs of the 1830s were moulded in a crisp and deep relief. Apart from a few angular exceptions the body was generally round. In terms of decoration, this was a period when designs and inspirations seemed limitless. Hunting scenes were popular, as were religious, mythological, historical and even drinking themes. But inspiration was also found in books, poems and art. In fact almost every aspect of Victorian life.

By the latter part of the 1840s the earlier distinctive pedestal foot had become a foot rim and the lip was a little less flared. The body was still essentially round and the relief had become shallower. The new trend in design was naturalistic plant life, with some jugs being completely covered, examples being the Cob of Corn jug and the Pine Cone jug.

By the 1860s the relief was very shallow and the naturalistic designs were replaced with stylised flowers and foliage. By the time, towards the end of the century, that the Art Nouveau style had arrived the moulded jug had largely had its day.

Made usually in earthenware, stoneware or Parian the moulded jug makes a lovely addition to any collection which is why they have always remained popular in the auction room.

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

Merrythought

Merrythought have been producing soft toys since 1930. The company was established in Ironbridge, Shropshire by Gordon Holmes after he decided to expand on his previous experience in the milling and weaving of mohair yarn; the perfect teddy bear material.

Early pre-war Merrythought toys are identifiable by the celluloid button in their eye (a marking technique modelled on the Steiff example) and also an embroidered label on their feet. From the very beginning, Merrythought produced an impressive catalogue of domestic and wild animals as well as their teddy bears.

Production was interrupted during the war years as the Merrythought factory was taken over by the military and used for map-making and many of the staff worked on producing helmet linings, sleeve badges, gas mask bags and other such textile items for the armed forces.

Post-war saw production resumed initially on a small scale due to a shortage of supplies. Later came the introduction of the printed label, still placed on the feet, and in 1957, the infamous ‘Cheeky’ bear. The ‘Cheeky’ bears are very popular with collectors today and the early examples are the favourites. They are very distinctive bears with domed heads and large flat ears having bells sewn into them which are positioned lower down the side of the head. They are still made today.

It is interesting to note that the company’s emblem of a wishbone is actually the definition of the word ‘Merrythought’ and definitely brought the company good luck as they have been very successful throughout the years and are still very much in production today as the last remaining British teddy bear manufacturer.

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

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