Lord McAlpine’s Murano
Glass Collection

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been involved with the cataloguing, valuation and sale of a small collection of Murano glass once owned by the legendary businessman, politician and collector Lord Alistair McAlpine (1942-2014). Built up from the 1980s-2000s, the collection was acquired by his friend the writer and curator Karun Thakar, who has taken the decision to sell it. iInnovative online auction house The Auction Room (part of a group also including Bloomsbury Auctions, Dreweatts and Mallett)are handling the sale – which is online for viewing and bidding now.
The majority of the pieces from the collection were produced by Carlo Moretti, founded in 1958. They’re most notable for their acid-finished matte display and drinking goblets, footed jars and vases in vivid colours such as light blue, yellow or red, which were released c1959. Often lined with translucent white glass, they have an unusual plastic-like appearance typical of the 1960s & 70s. Other notable designs include bi-colour swirls in white and a strong colour, in vase, ashtray and bowl forms.
The latter range appears in the collection, but the main body of the Moretti pieces in McAlpine’s collection are from later ranges and demonstrate the vibrancy of Moretti’s colours and the simplicity, balance and proportion of their forms. Interesting additions include what appear to be small or limited production pieces in a range of styles using different techniques from trailing to canework and casing.
The auction also contains stand-out pieces from other factories and designers. These include Alessandro Mendini’s (very early) 1988 ‘Berito’ and ‘Dor’ vases for Venini, and a range of vases designed by the legendary glassmaker and designer Lino Tagliapietra and produced by Effetre International. Other notable designs include two ‘Calabash’ vases designed by James Carpenter for Venini, a large Venini amber ‘Batutto’ bowl with wavy rim, designed in the 1950s but dated 1988, and designs by Livio Seguso.
Estimates are very reasonable, averaging around the low to mid-hundreds of pounds, but start from as little as £50. The collection is on view at Soane Britain in Pimlico, London from 15th-29th June, then at Mallett Antiques, Ely House, from 22nd June-3oth June. A selection of lots is shown below.

To view the glass online and leave bids before 30th June 2015, click here to visit The Auction Room.


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