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Ceramics and glass were a major feature of the March 5 Decorative Arts 1860 to the Present sale at Roseberys (25% buyer’s premium) in south London.

Crocodile theme

Top-seller was a return to the rostrum: the c.1925 vase and cover, 2ft (61cm) high, which bore the painted RB monogram for René Buthaud (1886-1986), perhaps the most accomplished and important French Deco ceramicist.

Bearing incised decoration of a stylised crocodile and fish and of a woman holding a bowl, it had undergone substantial restoration.

In January 2018 a bidder went to £26,000 for it but failed to come up with the cash. This time the 2ft (61cm) high vase and cover was pitched at £7000-9000 and went on commission at £15,000.

Another great French name in 20th century design, René Lalique, was represented by one of the scent bottles he first designed for parfumier François Coulay in 1907 and produced in some volume at Combs-La-Ville from 1913. One of the most in-demand examples is the Bouchon Mûres (blackberry stopper) bottle designed in 1920 and made in several colourways.

At the height of the market 20 years ago, perfect examples could make substantial five-figure sums.

Damage to the stopper of Roseberys’ 4½in (11.5cm) tall bottle, moulded and engraved R Lalique No 495, kept the estimate down to £2000-3000.

However, it was sufficiently rare for bidders to overlook the restoration and it sold online at £7800.

Furniture flair


Dupre-Lafon table – £11,000 at Roseberys.

French flair also led the furniture at the West Norwood saleroom in the form of a 1935-40 rosewood, oak and nickel-plated drop-leaf dining table cum illuminated console.

By Paul Dupré-Lafon (1900-71), the architect whose designs from ashtrays to lighting to furniture earned him the tag ‘decorator of millionaires’, the 4ft 10in (1.49cm) long table, extending to 7ft 4in (2.23m) with two extra leaves, featured a frosted glass panel to the centre concealing a light fitment.

Estimated at £7000-9000, it sold to an absentee bidder at £11,000.

British contribution

The major British contribution among the top lots were two c.1998 lidded porcelain jars by in-demand potter Edmund De Waal (b.1964).

Entered by the same vendor, each was celadon glazed with an all-over fine crackle glaze and glued on a wooden base and each estimated at £1500-2000.

However, while one, 13in (33cm) tall, was in good condition apart from a firing crack to the collar, and sold over the phone at £5200, the other, 12¼in (31cm) tall, had undergone professional restoration to the lid and sold online at £2500.