Slightly outdoes Lalique vase from Morpeth attic breaks two records
Luckily it wasn’t broken itself – unlike a second, less valuable one in another box, discovered as part of a routine probate valuation
Slightly outdoes the flowers, maybe. The £280,000 vase which stands only 16 cms (six and a quarter inches) high.
Two records have been set by the sale of a vase discovered in a Morpeth attic with one of those whitey-green rims which come from flower arrangements whose containers are too little scrubbed after use.
Careful work on the Art Deco glassware by specialists revealed something equally special from the workshop of the French master craftsman Rene Lalique. It has now proved to be one of the world’s most expensive holders of bunches of summer posies or spring snowdrops.
Galloping beyond estimates of around £30,000 by the Newcastle auctioneers Anderson and Garland, the vase has sold for £280,000. This both is the highest price yet paid for a Lalique vase and the highest for a work of art in the north east of England this century.
The vase was made in 1922 using the cire perdue or ‘lost wax’ method familiar in metal sculpture where a wax coating is made of a plastercast and then lost – but without losing any of the fine detail – in the pouring of molten bronze or in this case glass. It was one of only four entitled Deux Figures Femmes Aillee – two winged female figures – and has its creator’s full and partial thumbrint on its base, copied from the lost wax, as well as the Lalique name and symbol.
The vase was found in a probate valuation, packed away with another, less valuable Lalique which was damaged. “Fortunately,” say Anderson and Garland, “the right vase was broken.” Its late owner is thought to have been unaware of its value; but then so were the valuers. The buyer, after a prolonged bidding ‘war’ at the auction, was a collector in the United States.