With estimates from £300 to £50,000, there are 150 lots in a rainbow palette of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and amethyst (not quite indigo and violet), as well as black, smoky and clear items. The focus of the collection is on jewellery, scent bottles, boxes, cendriers, seals, and vases. Highlights include the rare Tortues vase in a stunning butterscotch colour-way (lot 150). The vase is decorated with a conjoining patchwork of convex turtles with shells modelled in low-relief.
The scarce Pigeons vase in an uncommon pale blue colour, has appropriately subtle grey staining that highlights the birds perched on the branches (lot 147), and a magnificent Perruches vase is moulded in an unusual shade of crimson-red glass (lot 129).
The sale also offers models in a range of colour-ways, that form stunning groups when assembled together. Six different coloured Formose vases; seven distinct Gui vases and five contrasting Moissac vases are included in the auction. It is worth noting that different colours command different prices essentially based on rarity. In some cases very few pieces are known to exist in a given colour. For example, I have not seen another Moissac vase (lot 118) in turquoise apart from this one here.
The sale also includes examples of René Lalique’s famous opalescent glass, an example of which is the Borromée vase (lot 132). This milky-blue colour was achieved by the addition of antimony or arsenic and also by controlling the cooling times of the molten glass.
Lalique achieved a particular luminosity to his pieces of jewellery by setting clear and frosted glass against coloured foil-backings. The Tête mirrored pendant (lot 63) shimmers against the electric blue in the mount. He also added colour to the surfaces of his works. A rare Pots de Muguet choker (lot 67) is enhanced with applied white enamelling and the Poissons pendant (lot 61) has blue enamelling applied to it. The design on the Cerisier bracelet (lot 68) is emphasised by the sepia staining on the clear beads.
Finally, mention must be made of the the Davos vase (lot 120), because it is ‘dichroic’, changing colour according to the nature of the light around it. The vase either appears to be a peachy-pink shade or an olive green.
Lalique achieved this incredible range of colour in his glass through constant experimentation. He had begun creating coloured glass for his jewellery in the last decade of the 19th Century. He owned a furnace in which he trialled possibilities. Throughout his life he kept pushing the boundaries to conceive great masterpieces – aesthetic works of art of technical virtuosity and always finished to the highest standard. It is not surprising why Lalique’s work remains so appealing today.
Lyon & Turnbull’s Design Department is delighted to have introduced Lalique as a new biannual sale category in April 2021. No other auction house offers specialist sales devoted entirely to the work of René Lalique.
Senior Specialist, Joy McCall heads these sales as she previously did at Christie’s, London for many years. She has over 25 years of experience selling Lalique and brings to the process her knowledge and expertise together with a personal passion for the subject.
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