FROM perfume bottles and menu holders to vases and car mascots, the glass creations of René Lalique remain consistently appealing to a varied gamut of buyers.
At her most recent sale on May 26, Joy McCall, specialist at Christie's South Kensington (25/20/12% buyer's premium), who host biannual sales dedicated to the French glass designer, had buyers from America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia…in fact everywhere but the two Poles.
CSK present an expansive medley of Lalique pieces at these sales, from entry level buys in the form of small bowls and vases fetching around £500 up to the more impressive large figures and bowls at £20,000 plus.
Helped by a mix of dealers, dedicated Lalique collectors, decorators and home furnishers searching for a one off piece, this May 26 sale saw 80 per cent of the 203 lots find homes, for a total of £445,660.
Three large and relatively unusual Perruches vases, no. 876, in amber, blue and green fetched lofty prices thanks to some competitive collectors. Each vase was 10.25in (26cm) high, engraved R. Lalique and from a 1919 design. A deep amber example and an electric blue and white, stained version, both sold at £26,000 above £15,000-20,000 estimates, whilst the green and white stained vase made £24,000 against a £12,000-18,000 estimate.
Car mascots continue to be popular, and subject matter is often influential, with horse's heads popular with the racing fraternity. Here an Epsom car mascot, no. 1153 designed in 1929, a 7in (18cm) long horse's head moulded from clear frosted glass on a chromium-plated collar and ebonised wooden plinth made £10,000, against a guide of £4000-6000.
While Christie's take an all encompassing approach to Lalique with these dedicated sales at South Kensington, Sotheby's (25/20/12% buyer's premium), now without a secondary saleroom in London for such collector sales, cherry pick only a few top end Lalique pieces for inclusion in their 20th century design sales.
In the May 19 Sotheby's sale, nine Lalique pieces were offered but the undoubted star was a Camaret (Quatre Rangées de Poissons) table lamp, estimated at £10,000-15,000. Although it is a desirable form and it's rare to find the original base and shade together, there was no real explanation for the final price of £50,000, paid by a trade buyer, probably on behalf of a private client suspects specialist Jeremy Morrison.
Evidently a couple of bidders just happened to fall in love with the attractive 1928, 11.5in (29cm) lamp and vase in clear and frosted glass heightened with pale peach.
Other strong prices at this sale included a Oiseau de Feu illuminating glass panel, 1922, on a patinated bronze base cast with butterflies, 17in (43cm) high, which sold above a £20,000-30,000 estimate at £38,000. There was also a 2ft 11in (89cm) diameter Madrid chandelier, 1930 which sold for a double-estimate £32,000.
Lalique attracts private clients looking to make a one-off buy for a specific room - a trend seen by Bonhams' (20/12% buyer's premium) specialist Mark Oliver whose biannual Design sales generally offer a much larger and more varied raft of material. At Bonhams' June 16 sale, the best in this category was a 2ft 3in (69cm) Source de la Fontaine (Adriane) figure, designed in 1924, which sold for a mid-estimate £10,500 to an American collector.