BY TONY PRATT OF THE CAN­TER­BURY AUC­TION GAL­LERIES

Kent Life - - Art News -

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.

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