A quick, but important, one here. On my trip to Novy Bor, I was taken to the Crystalex factory shop. A selection of  ‘interesting’ decorative pieces and tableware was available, but the things that caught my eye were those in the photos below. The collectors amongst you will recognise the glass in the first photo (left) as ‘Nemo’, designed by Max Kannegeisser in 1963. Vintage examples aren’t too hard to find if you look hard enough, but I’d be prepared for an influx of these new versions. Jindrich Parik and I agreed that some shapes may be different, the colour tones of the dots are different and, most importantly, these new versions had relatively thick bases which made them heavier in weight than the originals we’ve seen in the past. Of course, it’s difficult to be sure so some more work will need to be done. Prices ranged from around £8-12. My suspicions had been aroused earlier in the year as I had seen a small vase in a charity shop in Honiton, which claimed to come …

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It’s not often that you get to meet the people behind the designs you collect, even though there’s more of a chance with postwar pieces. While I was in Novy Bor, I was lucky to meet Karel Wünsch, one of the best and most innovative postwar Czech glass designers who is globally renowned for his progressive cut glass. He now runs Galerie W, a thriving contemporary glass gallery with his wife, but still designs and cuts glass. Novy Bor is steeped in the history of Czech and Bohemian glass, and Wünsch’s gallery is no exception as it’s housed in the building once owned by the famous Egermann family (below). Wünsch has known the house all his life, as his father bought it in 1921. He even remembers an elderly granddaughter of the great Friedrich Egermann living there! Mr Wünsch and his wife are warm, friendly and open. He kindly gave me some copies of pages showing his celebrated designs for the early 1960s ‘Dual’ range (below), explaining that they gained the name not …

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If you’re wondering what I’m looking so fondly at, you’ll need to buy a copy of this month’s BBC Homes & Antiques to find out. And I can guarantee that it’s not a question mark! The feature I’m in could be titled ‘An antique is for life, not just for Christmas’, as it reveals the first antique a number of specialists on the Antiques Roadshow received as Christmas gifts. And the fact that this feature could be done shows that we still have them and hold them close to our hearts. Specialists include the legendary Bunny Campione, ceramics specialists Steven Moore and Will Farmer, book specialist Justin Croft, and jewellery specialist Alice Montagu Douglas Scott. Elsewhere in this month’s issue you’ll find inspirational homes, and features on ‘perking up a period property’, and behind the scenes of the Antiques Roadshow at Chatsworth, with an unscreened story of Hilary Kay and a very special guitar. I also enjoyed a fascinating introduction to Meissen porcelain by renowned expert John Sandon, and a visual history of salt and pepper pots through …

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My main reason for visiting the Czech Republic last week was to attend the opening of a major retrospective exhibition of the work of eminent Czech glass designer and maker Frantisek Vizner. I was kindly invited as the guest of the Ajeto Glassworks, whose smart and spacious museum in Novy Bor was the location of the exhibition. Frantisek Vizner was born in 1936 and has risen to become a globally known name whose unique studio works can be found in key museums and public and private collections across the world. After mastering basic skills at the Specialized School of Novy Bor, he studied at the Prague Academy of Applied Arts under the legendary Professor Karel Stipl from 1956-62. He then moved into the government organised Czech glass industry, as a designer of mass-produced pressed glass. He produced over 20 designs until 1967 when he moved to the noted Skrdlovice glassworks to produce limited run hot-worked designs. In 1977, he left Skrdlovice to focus on the unique studio works that he had begun whilst there, and …

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