Eric Knowles Eric Knowles, Antiquarian

Lalique Glass

Lalique glass made prior to 1945 is never short of admirers and although perceived as expensive £150 buys you a modest Art Deco perfume bottle. Compare that with a rare bottle sold at auction fifteen years ago for a whopping £38,000, but steady yourself when I tell you that it's value today is nearer £10,000. Yes it's sad but true the value of antiques and collectables can drop in value as well as rise. Never buy in the hope of reselling and making a profit.

Pre war Lalique has had a bumpy ride in the past but the market today appears to be relatively stable and still commands an international following. Rene Lalique was already France's premier jeweller before he turned his attention to moulded glass in 1907. With asking prices for his jewellery often starting at £10,000. Lalique's glass creations offer far more scope for those of us of more limited means.

The immense output from his incredible fertile imagination only stopped with his death, aged 85, in 1945, the company then continued under the leadership of his son, Marc. Lalique Glass produced during his lifetime is signed in a number of ways including engraved. Acid etched and moulded - it invariably includes the initial 'R' before 'Lalique'. A small plate can sometimes be found for less than £100 and a good selection of his decorative vases can be had for between £300 and £1000.

Quite often the biggest problem most new collectors find when setting about putting a collection is which range to concentrate on. It may be that you are attracted to the hundreds of perfume bottles, a fair number being made for Coty, Molinard, Worth, Roger and Gallet and other French perfume houses. Some basic bottles can be found for under £200 but the more exciting are usually priced at between £500 and £2000. Original packaging adds significantly to the value.

If you have a passion for car mascots Lalique produced 29 designs in glass to choose from, all of them benefited from being illuminated. The car mascot market is one category that has seen a noticeable increase in value due to more and more 'automobilia' collectors discovering these amazing creations. My personal favourite is modelled as the head of an Amazon with stylised swept back hair titled 'The Spirit of the Wind' and it could be mine should I have £6000 to spare.

Should you decide to introduce period Art Deco lighting into your home then consider the 100 plus fittings featured in contemporary sales catalogues. The 1932 catalogue (which has been reprinted in recent years and is a must have) includes illustrations of a magical array of lighting. Ceiling bowls are rarely found for less than £800, a pair of wall lights will start at £1200 and a multi-panel chandelier will cost £4000 plus.

The 150 and more vases he produced in the inter war years are testament to Lalique's mastery of design and his acute understanding of the optical properties of glass. They are after all forms of glass sculpture - perish the thought of ever sticking flowers in a Lalique vase Value is dependent on size, decoration. and colour. The more affordable tend to be in frosted and clear glass with the moulded decoration highlighted with coloured staining.

Vases made in the milky bluish glass synonymous with Lalique called 'opalescent' are next in the desirability stakes with size a deciding factor. Large vases in semi-translucent colours are most collectors dream especially those 'cased' examples composed of opalescent overlaid and sandwiched between coloured glass. A red spherical 9ins vase moulded with exotic fish and retailed under the name 'Formose' sells for £4000, whereas a green cased 14 ins 'Scarab' vase is nearer £15000.- there again it's only money !


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