Two views of the Zsolnay dragon vase c.1901, sold for €54,000 (£45,500) at Quittenbaum.

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A choice selection of prime-period wares by the Zsolnay factory excelled at Quittenbaum (31% buyer’s premium) in Munich on June 11.

All selling for prices well above conservative estimates, the seven pieces by the Pecs factory dominated a sale of Art Nouveau-Art Deco.

The most desirable of the varied wares produced by the Zsolnay family in south-west Hungary are those created between the 1890s and the start of the First World War.

It was then that Vilmos Zsolnay (1828-1900) - having encountered the glazes of Clement Massier in Paris - perfected his trademark lustrous glaze he named Eosine after Eos, the goddess of dawn, and engaged his principal designer Tade Sikorski to model forms sympathetic to the Art Nouveau and Jugendstil movements.


Zsolnay cerith shell and fish vase c.1901, €42,000 (£35,500) at Quittenbaum.

The results were first displayed to great national acclaim at the 1896 Millennium exhibition in Budapest, held to mark the 1000th anniversary of Magyar settlement of the Carpathian Basin, and, under Miklos Zsolnay (1857-1922), hit new highs of artistic and economic success with gold medals in St Petersburg (1901), Turin (1902) and St Lous (1904).

The group of works from a private collection offered by Quittenbaum all dated from c.1900-02 and showed the factory at the top of its game.

Among the most sought after of all Zsolnay forms is the 14in (35cm) dragon vase made c.1901, rival to a similar vessel made by the sculptor and ceramist Eduard Stellmacher (Amphora) in Bohemia.

The example here with only minimal chipping and retouching was glazed in a vivid blue with gold, green and brown tones. Pitched at €4,000-€5,000, it ultimately sold at €54,000 (£45,500). Another in the same colourway sold for $55,000 at US saleroom John Moran in July 2012.

A 13in (33cm) vase modelled as a huge cerith shell and a fish in a red and brownish Eosin glaze with gold and green tones c.1902 also made 10 times its estimate at €42,000 (£35,500).

It was followed at €17,000 (£14,400) by a 10in (26cm) tapering jug with a polychrome lustre scene of a smoking campfire in an evening tree landscape (a model shown at the Turin World Fair 1902), and an 11in (28cm) vase formed as four snails around a seashell, c.1902, in blue, gold and green tones which hammered at €16,000 (£13,500).