BY TONY PRATT OF THE CANTERBURY AUCTION GALLERIES
Mention the name Emile
Gallé (1846-1904) in collecting circles and most thoughts turn to the beautiful and unique Art Nouveau glass objects he pioneered in his eponymous factory in Nancy in north-eastern France. A man pre-eminent in his trade, he was an equal to the other great French glassmaker, Réné Lalique.
What’s less well-known, however, is that Gallé also produced works in faience, the French term for Italian maiolica from Faenza in northern Italy and what we would describe as buff earthenware decorated with a tin glaze finish. Gallé faience leads most collectors to think immediately of the amusing, vivid yellow, seated pottery cats with Cheshire grins and green glass eyes. They date from around 1910 and can be worth upwards of £1,000.
This charming Gallé model of a hare, found in a Dover farmhouse, is extremely rare, so rare that in all my years as an auctioneer, I’ve never seen one before. However, so wide is the reach of our sales that it was seen online by a collector in the Channel Islands who owns several, as well as a number of equally rare rabbits, which Gallé also made. Keen to add it to his ‘husk’ – the collective name for the animals – he paid a substantial £1,800 to secure it. We delight in uniting collectors with rare objects and are always keen to help owners obtain the right price for them. Our free Friday valuation mornings is the first step. Call 01227 763337 for more information.