Of the numerous pieces of Mdina Glass that come to auction, comfortably the most desirable are those created by Michael Harris (1933-94).
He set up the Maltese studio in 1968 and worked there for four years before moving to the Isle of Wight.
Among his signature pieces at Mdina was the ‘fish’ vase: the axehead form vessels of coloured and glass.
Most are signed, such the example offered by Mallams (25% buyer’s premium) as part of the firm’s Modern Living sale in Cheltenham on March 17.
Relatively large at 12in (30cm) high, it was inscribed to the base Michael Harris, Mdina Glass Malta, The friends of Malta G[rand] Excelsior Hotel, October 1970.
A few years ago these were consistently making four-figure sums (one took £1300 at Fieldings in 2018) but the high hundreds is now more the going rate. Estimated at £300- 500, it was pushed to £800, selling to an online bidder.
Pieces from Harris’ tenure in the Isle of Wight are typically more affordable. Here a 12in (29cm) Pink Azurene bell vase, c.1983, with a flame impressed pontil mark signed Michael Harris, England, 11/500, took £190.
Osman teaspoon set
Also pictured here is a set of eight silver teaspoons in a yew box bearing marks for Louis Osman (1914-96), London, 1985. Pieces by Osman, best known as the goldsmith who designed and made the crown for the 1969 investiture of the Prince of Wales, are uncommon on the secondary market.
However in 2011 his ‘Prince of Wales Cup’, made with the engraver Malcolm Appleby (b.1946), sold at Bonhams for £60,000 (a record for English post-war silver at the time) and Dix Noonan Webb enjoyed considerable success with a small personal archive of design sketches and commissioned pieces consigned by Osman’s daughter.
These spoons, pitched at a modest £100-200, eventually sold to an online UK bidder for £1700.
A modular sofa, featuring bold combinations of Missoni fabrics was the top-performing lot. The Rythme design, by French furniture manufacturer Roche Bobois, was purchased new by the vendor in 2010.
It sold for £2800, well above its £300-500 estimate.