A Lalique doorstop…?

I must admit my first reaction was to ask her “What have you been doing? Hammering nails in with it?” The rim was covered in chips, and there were a couple of large chunks missing from the acid-frosted moulded pattern of satyrs bounding around in grape vines. The truth was even more surprising – the lady who brought it in to me at the excellent Dulwich Glass & Ceramics fair last weekend had found it in an office, where it was being used as a doorstop! Despite it being walked past for decades, her keen eyes had spotted it as a design by world-famous Art Deco glass designer Réné Lalique. Picking the weighty piece up confirmed it, as did the presence of an inscribed ‘Lalique France’ mark on the heavily scratched base.
It’s a ‘Bacchus’ vase, designed by Réné himself in the late 1930s, but this example dates from after WWII due to the lack of the ‘R’ initial in front of his name in the mark on the base. As such, it would be worth around £600-700 if sold at auction. That’s if it hadn’t picked up all the wear and damage caused by a door thumping against it for years!
The lady owner already knew that it wasn’t worth very much in this condition but, as she liked it so much, she wanted to know if it could be restored in any way. The chips on the rim crossed the piece and, being deep and wide, the only option would be to cut the rim down. Although this would ruin the balance of the shape, at least it would ‘look’ better. As for the missing chunks on the pattern, that would be down to the restorer – he’s a highly skilled man, and I’ll be interested to see what he does with it. It just goes to show that keeping your eyes peeled in even the most unlikely places can reveal treasures – even those that are only if she had got to it a few years back!

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