MORE AF­FORD­ABLE OP­TIONS

Uxbridge Gazette - - Antiques Fair -

RO­MA­NIAN glass­mak­ers are par­tic­u­larly adept at mak­ing high-qual­ity Gallé-style cameo glass but to avoid copy­right is­sues, they are marked “TIP” in sim­i­larly raised glass after what passes at first glance as a Gallé sig­na­ture.

We own such a piece, a lamp, pur­chased in Prague, which is stun­ning when lit… but un­af­ford­able, to us at least, if it had been an­tique. TIP is the Ro­ma­nian word for “type.”

The prob­lem is that un­scrupu­lous deal­ers have been known to grind away the TIP mark, which, when done pro­fes­sion­ally, leaves no trace.

Oth­ers at­tempt­ing to ex­plain away the mark claim er­ro­neously that it in­di­cated a piece made by a Gallé apprentice, or else it was made for ex­port.

One of the most re­li­able ways of dat­ing Gallé glass is the ground-out pon­til mark on the base.

The pon­til is a cir­cu­lar rough glass scar, which re­mains when the ob­ject is snapped off the glass blower’s hol­low metal rod through which he blows to form the shape of the ob­ject when it is in molten form. The scar is then ground away, leav­ing a small dim­ple-shaped, smooth de­pres­sion.

Most French cameo glass made be­fore 1930 will have a ground pon­til, while mod­ern pieces made by the mould­ing process do not.

How­ever, in­ven­tive fraud­sters can cre­ate the ground-out de­pres­sion sim­ply to de­ceive.

As ever, the best ad­vice is to buy only where pur­chases are guar­an­teed.

Early 20th-cen­tury Gallé style cameo glass Mush­room lamp, with trees, moun­tain and river scene, shade and stand signed “Galle” and “TIP”, in­di­cat­ing it was made in Ro­ma­nia. It still sold for £1,200. The Can­ter­bury Auc­tion Gal­leries

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