Clear Triumph for Lalique Glass at Bonhams

Three pre-war 'Merles et Raisins' panels by René Lalique, were the star lot at Bonhams sale of A Private Collection of Lalique Glass on 19 February 2020 in Knightsbridge, London, selling for £35,062 – more than double their pre-sale estimate. The sale itself saw 91% sold by lot, and 96% sold by value.

Lalique introduced the 'Merles et Raisins' designs in 1928. The finely detailed panels were commissioned for the dining car of the Cote d'Azur Pullman Express, which made its inaugural journey from Paris to Ventimiglia on the Franco-Italian border on 9 December 1929. They were later presented to Sir John Cuckney, Chairman of the Thomas Cook Group Ltd, by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, the owners of the Cote d'Azur Pullman Express, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the special relationship between the two companies on 3 July 1979. They had remained in the possession of the company ever since.

Gemma Sanders, Bonhams UK Head of 20th Century Decorative Art, commented: "The fantastic results of this sale show that Lalique glass is as collectable and desirable as ever. The three Internationale Des Wagons-Lits 'Merles et Raisins' panels were particularly special and with such an exceptional provenance it is no wonder they achieved such an impressive price."

Other highlights included:

• René Lalique (French, 1860-1945), A Pre-War 'Victoire' Car Mascot, designed in 1928. Sold for £11,312.

In 1928, René Lalique chose to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the armistice of the First World War with a car mascot called Victoire, destined to adorn the bonnets of the finest luxury motorcars of the Roaring Twenties. Also known as Spirit of the Wind, the design is Art Deco, and the stylised hair of an androgynous figure is blown back by the wind, demonstrating the powerful effect of speed. For safety reasons, glass car mascots were gradually phased out through the 1930s, and Lalique transformed these figureheads into the now instantly recognizable freestanding statuettes.

• René Lalique (French, 1860-1945), A Pre-War 'Suzanne' Statuette, design introduced in 1925. Sold for £6,937.

• René Lalique (French, 1860-1945), A Pre-War 'Six Figurines Et Masques Vase, design introduced in 1913. Sold for £6,062.

• René Lalique (French, 1860-1945), A Pre-War 'Parfums D'Orsay' Plaquette Publicitaire, design introduced in 1925. Sold for £5,062.


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