French Opalescent Glass Perch Fish Mascot Figurine. Choisy-le-Roi circa 1930s


Here is a gorgeous example of French opalescent Art Deco glass.

The depiction of a perch was a much favoured study for many designers & glass producing factories of the period, from Lalique, Sabino, Verlys and others, each factory introduced their very own examples of this fish in a wide variety of sizes, representations & styles... And it is no small wonder as to why.

A `perch' allows for numerous natural characteristics which to a designer of the era could adapt very favourably to the Art Deco style. This fish species is streamlined, genderless in its appearance, and has an abundance of features which lend them self to be artistically adapted within the medium that is glass. Art Deco glass designers understood this which is the testimony of the wonderful examples that they produced...

... The dorsal fin for example with its row of raised spines, and the large adipose fin & fork-shaped tail, all could be adapted to geometrical Art Deco forms. The perch is also a relatively small sized fish species, and so models of it can appear to be almost real in terms of scale. It was a much favoured design for many car hood glass mascots of the period, and even to this day is a sought after study...

There are basically, three different kinds of opalescent glass however each type uses heat combined with coolness to provide its creamy-opalescent effect. In this piece for example, the blue-tinged & semi-opaque rich-creamy colour is produced by slower cooling of the thicker parts of the glass. The effects are astonishing under different light conditions. The glass glows a golden colour when light is allowed to shine through from behind, and then a wonderful opal-blue, bordering on violet-pink which blends into an almost white when lit from the front. Armed with this knowledge, it then takes thickly detailed glass patterns to bring this glass into life.

Unlike the examples which were produced by Lalique, this piece displays the perch facing downwards. The base of the piece is also rectangular & solid as opposed to being oval and it is unlike similar examples produced by Verlys, which are round & hollow.

There are no signatures or maker marks that I can locate and so attributing the maker is problematic however there are several indicators which can help to establish. I purchased it from France (which is a good place to start) and so one can safely say that it was produced in that country. I have also compared the opalescent qualities of the piece to other French glass in my collection, which again has directed me towards the Choisy-le Rois region of glass producing factories. It is not a case of plucking names from a hat when one tries to establish a maker. It is usually more the case of using elimination and then moving on. With this in mind, I can only provide you with my own observations and opinion. I have concluded that this piece was indeed made at Choisy-le-Rois, and most probably for Etling, or it is an un-catalogued piece by Verlys, France. The latter cannot be ruled out. An example does feature in their catalogue that is very similar to this piece, however it is rounder in overall body shape, and it carries a moulded maker mark whereas this piece does not.

The fish has been matt satin frosted to all surfaces including the base, which has been moulded as stylized waves of water.

CONDITION REPORT: As can be seen from my photographs, this piece is in excellent condition save for a few minor rough edges to the bottom edge of the base. There is also an interior bubble caused during the manufacturing process. This has also been shown on photograph 6 and it is located just behind the pectoral fin. This still remains a fabulous example and its pattern type is scarce. There are no chips or damage to the fish itself. It's delightful.

Length: 5 inches Height: 4 inches Base size: 2.25 x 1.5 inches Postage weight: 1k

Item ID: JJ838

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