Saleroom Life

by Sheffield Auction Gallery

Month: January 2016

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

Troika

Troika pottery was founded in 1963 in St Ives, Cornwall by the successful combination of three partners; Benny Sirota, a potter, Lesley Illsley, a painter and Jan Thompson, an architect. They wanted to produce beautiful pottery as works of art without the restraints of functionality. A desire that was very much part of the studio movement of the time and one which brought them success both artistically and financially due to the summer tourist trade and some very lucrative contracts with departments stores, namely Heals and Libertys in London.

troika

Strong, structured and ultra modern designs were created, a far cry from the plain, functional styles of the period. Pieces were created in moulds but each one was then hand-painted. The main designs were based around geometric shapes with figural forms extremely rare. Small, rectangular shapes are most common with unusual shapes such as the ‘Aztec’ masks being the least.

Their early work was smooth and glazed and later, after around 1974, the work became more textured which became their signature style. There was far more production of the rough textured variety and it became incredibly popular and still is with collectors today. However, the earlier pieces which are rarer are the most valuable and highly sought after.

Marks can be used to date pieces; those bearing the words ‘St Ives’ are the earliest, with ‘Cornwall’ used after 1970. The town ‘Newlyn’, where the company moved in 1970 to expand into bigger premises, never appears in any marks.

The company, although successful, couldn’t compete with cheaper imports so eventually closed its doors in 1983. Troika is still popular amongst collectors today, especially since their 50th anniversary in 2013 which saw new exhibitions and publications to entice collectors anew.

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

Carriage Clocks

Carriage clocks, small, portable and spring driven, with carrying handles are amongst the most popular clocks with collectors today. At the turn of the century Abraham-Louis Breguet developed the Carriage clock, called in France a “Pendule de Voyage”. Made mainly in France throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the largest market for them was in Britain and America.

A Miniature Enamelled Travel Carriage Clock in case

A Miniature Enamelled Travel Carriage Clock in case

Manufacture of this clock for carriages was well established in France by the 19th century. The escapement was located on the horizontal platform at the top of the clock, visible through a glazed aperture, similar to those used in watches and unaffected by movement. Makers in Paris assembled the workings of clock and case and stamped their marks on the movement.

Cases were usually rectangular, earliest versions having brass frames cast in one piece, with bevelled glass panels revealing the movement. After 1845 makers would assemble cases from several parts, allowing for variety in design, including small (mignomette), full size and giant versions.

A Cloisonne Enamel Carriage Clock

A Cloisonne Enamel Carriage Clock

The finest cases were gilded and engraved with foliate patterns. Later a small number were produced with decorative enamel or porcelain panels. Most were sold with carrying cases.

A traditional style Carriage Clock

A traditional style Carriage Clock

Dials are mostly white enamelled copper with blued steel hands. French Carriage clocks sold in Britain would often have a signature on the dial of a British retailer with serial number and maker’s stamp on the movement. Britain produced a small number of Carriage clocks with plainer, heavier cases, but considered to be of a higher quality.

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

Schuco Miniatures

The German toy manufacturer, Schuco, actually began life as Schreyer & Co. when formed in 1912 by Heinrich Müller and Heinrich Schreyer in Nuremberg, the name changed in 1921 when Schuco was officially registered as their trademark.

Schuco is well known for their beautifully made and mechanically clever tinplate toys. They managed to succeed in making mass produced toys that retained their quality of finish. They made cars, boats, animals, cowboys, clowns even Disney characters and a
Charlie Chaplin who walked along twisting his cane.

One of the popular ranges with collectors is their miniatures. First produced in 1924, these were tiny figures measuring from 2 to 4½ inches with metal-frame bodies covered in mohair completed with a tinplate face mask. Originally produced purely as a publicity
item they were soon being manufactured for many different uses. Some were made to contain lipsticks, manicure sets or perfume bottles, while others were marketed as mascots for bicycle bars or as lapel badges or simply as novelties in their own right with the acrobatic and tumbling bears particularly popular.

The most popular miniatures tend to be the bears and monkeys with the brightest colours being most desirable. Miniatures were commonly made in green, lavender, red, blue and pink, with rarer colours like purple and orange realising higher prices. Cartoon characters like Felix the Cat, were made as well as many animals from elephants to ladybirds and a particularly collectible ‘Noah’s Ark’.

Despite their tiny size, Schuco remained true to form and all their miniatures were incredibly well-made. Although not all are marked they can easily be recognized by the skill in production and the classic tinplate face over a mohair-covered jointed body.

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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