Posted 8 years ago
When I bought this piece from a friend, I wasn't sure whether this was a product of Riedel or Harrach. Both produced a matte black glass with gilding at about the same time. Either would have been just fine with me.
Fortunately, additional clues surfaced when the piece arrived, so now I can say for sure that this is a Harrach vase. It is even harder to photograph than it is to see, but there are alpha-numeric marks on the bottom of the piece - it appears to say 894/2 on the top line, with W.347 beneath. This was discovered by looking through a 10X jeweler's loupe and tilting the bottom in such a way that direct light reflected off the decorator's ink. I tried to capture the flavor of it in photo #3. This system of marking is typical of Harrach.
According to From Neuwelt to the Whole Word/ 300 Years of Harrach Glass, edited by Jan Mergl, the year 1887 was the beginning of the production of matt Hyalith glass at the glass works of Harrach in Neuwelt. There is a very nice example shown in the book on page 249. One surprising thing - though the glass is defined as black, and looks jet black against the gold enamels, when backlit with a strong light source, the glass gives off a cherry red glow. Away from the light, it's as black as it can be! (see photo #4) It is beautifully gilt in gold enamels of stylized leaves and a dragonfly. It stands about 7.5" tall.