I recently purchased this glass vase from eBay, and based on the pictures I was convinced it was Kralik Martelé.
Now that I have it in hand I am not so sure who made it. It does not have the weight one would expect from an 8” Kralik vase, and there is also that “something else” that does not feel quite like Kralik. Those who collect a particular style or maker of glass will know what I mean.
There is a lot going on with this piece:
- it is 8”high and 3.25” base
- the base is UV reactive glass
- the décor is martelé
- finished in a gold iridescent frit
- it has a fired polished rim
- it is light for its size
As I stated, there is something about this piece that does not “feel” like Kralik. The more I handle it, the more I am convinced it was not made by Kralik despite what some well informed collectors have suggested. As to who made it, I am suggesting that there is a possibility that it might have been made by Dugan or one of the glass companies Dugan was consolidated with during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
This is what I am thinking:
- the martelé décor was part of Kralik production but not exclusive to Kralik. Pictured below is a piece of green Kralik martelé. Notice that the top of my piece and the Kralik piece are different. I personally have never seen a piece of Kralik Martelé that is UV reactive. A knowledgeable collector that I know made a similar comment.
- frit was used by Kralik but again not exclusive to Kralik. In fact the frit used on the piece strongly resembles the frit on other Dugan pieces I have.
- according to a knowledgeable Dugan glass collector, this piece has been offered in the marketplace as "Dugan" or Czech,” which, if anything, underscores the confusion surrounding this piece.
- the same Dugan collector pointed out to me that all Dugan pieces she has handled have mould seams. However I have a Dugan rose bowl with no apparent seam. This piece does not have a visible mould seam. Does this completely rule out Dugan as the maker? It is worth noting that several glass companies including Northwood, Dugan, and Albany glass were consolidated under "National Glass" during the late 19th century turn of the 20th century. Therefore some moulds may have been shared and or exchanged to fill orders. The sharing and exchanging of moulds and staff has been recently acknowledged to have happened with the Bohemian houses as well.
- the weight of this piece is surprisingly light given its 8” size. This is where the “feel” of Dugan comes into the picture for me.
- the rim of this piece is finished in a way that reminds of the Dugan pieces I have.
- I have taken shots of the bottom of the Dugan pieces I have comparing them to the piece I purchased. The new piece is on the top right hand side. Below this picture is a shot of Kralik bottoms that have a frit finish comparing them to the new piece. Again top right hand side.
In conclusion, what I have is a beautiful piece of glass.
It takes on a life of its own under display lamps. It looks comfortable with the other pieces that surround it. And it still manages to hold that little bit of mystique one hundred years later.
As to who made this piece, I may never know.