I have long been an admirer of the work of René Lalique, so was happy to be sent a new book by Eric Knowles, published by Shire, celebrating the work of the artist. Existing in one of my favourite Art Deco periods, the glossy book is filled with beautiful images of Lalique's work.
René Lalique was one of the giants of twentieth-century decorative arts and a master of the Art Deco idiom. Born in 1860, early artistic talent led to an apprenticeship with Paris goldsmith Louis Aucoc. By 1885 Lalique had established his own workshop, and for the next twenty years he designed and made jewellery of great originality and beauty. Though this became famous worldwide, before the turn of the century he began experimenting with glass, and it is for this that Lalique is most famous: the fine art perfume bottles he produced for François Coty and a vast repertoire besides, including vases, lighting, clocks, car mascots and architectural commissions. This lavishly illustrated history, written by antique expert Eric Knowles, celebrates the extraordinary jewellery and glass of René Lalique, and the glass of the Lalique company up to the present day.
I don't want to spoil too much the essence of the book, preferring instead to share with you a few of my favourite pages. But if you have a love of art from the Art Deco period, beautiful perfume bottles or indeed any glassware of the decorative variety, this book is definitely for you.
My own collection of Lalique pieces is sadly rather limited. I have a beautiful blue crystal cabouchon ring that I have had for a few years and which I still love. I'm quite the collector of glassware anyway, so whenever I venture to flea-markets or antique fairs, glassware is generally what catches my eye. One such example is this perfume bottle that I bought for £1 at a flea-market. I basically just loved the opaque glass and shape of the apple without ever checking that it may have been designed by someone rather important. It was several months later when dusting my collection of perfume bottles that I realised that this little bottle was stamped Lalique. A short while later in a local jewellery stockist of Lalique, they were advertising the fact that some representatives of Christie's Auction House, specialising in Lalique, would be coming into the store. When I contacted them, they suggested I take my little bottle along. I found out that the apple bottle had been designed for Nina Riccci and despite the possibility of a slight flaw in the bottle stopper, still valued it at £100. So there I have my own little piece of Lalique history.