Lalique Tortues (No 966) vase in butterscotch glass, £38,000 at Lyon & Turnbull.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

It is the appeal of coloured or opalescent glass that helps explain why two apparently similar pieces of Lalique can be priced quite differently.

René Lalique (1860-1945) made some of his most popular designs in multiple different colours and for some collectors the joy is displaying them together.

Glass by the designer - the epitome of inter-war period glamour - took centre stage once again at Lyon & Turnbull (26% buyer’s premium) on February 2.

The London sale of a fine 150-piece private collection titled Lalique in Colour totalled £566,000 with a selling rate of 92%.

The collection, assembled by a UK collector over 20-plus years, included good examples of some of the most famous vintage Lalique creations - some of them in a variety of colourways.

Butterscotch bonus

The price sheet was led at £38,000 (estimate £30,000-50,000) by a butterscotch glass version of the Tortues vase.

Designed in 1926, it is numbered 966 in the René Lalique catalogue raisonné.

“It’s a scarce and popular form in any colour but in butterscotch it was stunning,” said head of sale Joy McCall of L&T. “It was a first for me. It’s a pleasure to still be handling pieces that I have not previously encountered during my 26-year career,” she added.


Lalique Bellecour (No 993) vase in frosted and clear glass, £20,000 at Lyon & Turnbull.

A version of the 1927 Bellecour (No 993) vase, modelled with four frosted and polished sparrows perched on berries and brambles as they feed from a bowl, brought £20,000, while the cased jade, and white stained Languedoc (No 1021) cactus leaf vase, designed in 1929 and named after the sun-drenched region in the south of France, sold at £24,000.

Also in a vibrant cased jade glass with grey staining was a version of the much-admired Poissons (No 925) designed in 1921 with swimming fish around the full circumference of the vase.

It took £20,000, while another in cased orange glass made £12,000.


Lalique Gui (No 948) vase in electric blue, £5000 at Lyon & Turnbull.

This collection included no less than seven examples of the Gui vase (No 948) moulded with fruiting mistletoe and six versions of the Formose vase (No 934), modelled with fan-tailed goldfish.


Lalique Formose vase (No 934) in cased scarlet red glass, £4800 at Lyon & Turnbull.

The Gui designs sold for sums up to £5000 for the example in electric blue, with the Formose vases topped by a version in cased scarlet red glass at £4800.

“The two Poissons vases were in unusual colourways and it was fun to have such a rainbow of Gui and Formose vases,” said McCall.

Three colour variant versions of the Escargot vase (No 931), designed in 1920, made contrasting sums. That in electric blue took £7000 but those in butterscotch and a vibrant orange-red, with white stain made £12,000 and £16,000 respectively.

Second career

For René Lalique, glass making represented a second career (he had already proved himself a superb artist jeweller).

However, as the fashion for Art Nouveau peaked, he changed medium and began to produce bespoke glass bottles for his near neighbour on the Place Vendôme in Paris, François Coty - some of the very first experiments in commercial perfume bottle manufacture.

Perfume bottles remained an important part of his range in the 1920s. This collection included a clear, frosted and sepia stained bottle designed in 1927 to mark the 60th anniversary of a collection of poems published by Frédéric Mistral in 1867.

Applied with a paper label printed Calendal Molinard Jeune Grasse Paris, it is thought this bottle never went into general production. It made £8000 (estimate £3000-5000).

A rare clear, frosted and blue stained bottle from 1920, one of several designs produced by Lalique for Volnay’s Ambre de Siam scent, sold for £5200, while a version of the famous ‘skyscraper’ style bottle designed in 1929 for Lucien Lelong sold for £3600. Remarkably, this bottle in clear, frosted and black enamelled glass came with its original presentation box.

Also with its card packaging was a clear and frosted La Sirene for Burmann bottle designed 1912.

It took £4400.

Dedicted sales

Lyon & Turnbull’s five specialist Lalique sales since April 2021 have raised over £2.5m.

From a collection of 150 Lalique perfume bottles (February 2022) to a complete collection of the 31 different Lalique car mascots (April 2022), the design department now claims to sell more vintage Lalique glass than any other firm.

This sale attracted 14 new buyers to L&T’s established client list, with some of them buying more than one lot.

The firm will conduct its next Lalique sale on April 27 in the Mall Galleries in London.