Massive Australian auction result for lowly estimated ceramic creations

For some reason, Melbourne-based Leski Auctions estimated lot 610 – an attractive pair of Chinese ceramic peanut ornaments and 20th century Persian-style censer, part of its two-day Decorative Arts & Collectables March 26-27 sale – at only $120-$200.

The final price could only be regarded as an auctioneer’s masterstroke as spirited bidding saw the items sell for $50,190 including the buyer’s premium.

A stunning, signed early 20th century Daum “Eucalyptus” cameo glass lamp and shade (lot 1070) grabbed second spot in the auction’s top 10 items with a $28,680 result for the lucky vendor.

A crystal studio based in Nancy, France, Daum was founded in 1878 by Jean Daum (1825-1885) and its growth during the burgeoning art nouveau period overseen by his sons Auguste (1853-1909) and Antonin (1864-1931).

Today, Daum is the only commercial crystal manufacturer employing the pâte de verre (glass paste) process for art glass and crystal sculptures, a technique in which crushed glass is packed into a refractory mould and fused in a kiln.

A 14th/15th century Ming Dynasty Chinese celadon porcelain censer on a finely carved timber stand (lot 668) brought $10,755.

Italian glass blower Alfredo Barbini (1912-2007), who became one of Murano’s leading artisans of the 20th century, filled fourth place with his circa 1960 Cenedese aquarium glass four fish block creation (lot 348) that changed hands for $7767, only $597 more than that paid for a 19th century Bleu de Hue Chinese porcelain bowl (lot 676).

Another icon of Nancy, French artist and designer Émile Gallé (1846-1904) – a major innovator of the art nouveau movement in both glass and furniture and founder of the Nancy School of design – was another strong finisher with his circa 1905 signed nest of four coffee tables with floral marquetry tops (lot 1210) that also brought $7170.

Alfredo Barbini featured once more in seventh spot with another glass aquarium block, this time showing an octopus, starfish, seahorse and two large fish (lot 347) – a $6572 result – the same as that paid for Alfred De Breanski senior’s (1852-1928) Loch Achray oil painting from Melbourne’s Jason E. Sprague collection.

The last two places were taken by a set of five 19th century Qing Dynasty Chinese porcelain bowls (lot 717) and a Still Life painting (lot 1008) by Mildred Bendall (1891-1977), each of which sold for $5497.

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