Jun 18, 2014 3:37PM
Joy McCall, Senior Specialist, 20th Century Decorative Art & Design, on Lalique’s Spanish-inspired creation

René Lalique founded his glassmaking company in 1888, and built the first and only Lalique factory in 1921, in Alsace, France — where a team of glass-workers have produced unique glassware for almost a hundred years.

Among the themes that recur in Lalique’s forms are women, animals, birds, fish, insects, flowers and foliage. Below, Christie’s specialist Joy McCall ‘deconstructs’ an opalescent and blue stained Alicante vase, which features three pairs of birds. It is Lot 2 in our latest 20th Century Decorative Art & Design online-only auction, simply titled, Lalique (June 17-26, 2014).


Birds are a recurring theme in the work of René Lalique, as can be seen more broadly even within this sale — the car mascots here feature different birds of prey, the Le Mans vase reveals a frieze of cockerels, the Archers vase shows birds in flight, and the Moineaux timepiece features sparrows

This vase, also known as Gros Perroquets, presents three pairs of large parrots, depicted in profile facing one another. They could be viewed as lovebirds, but these parrots are more robust in appearance than those portrayed on the Ceylan vase or the Perruches vase. Gros Perroquets may be seen to represent the exoticism of the sunny Mediterranean port of Alicante in the southeastern region of Spain, from which the vase takes its name.


The vase is an opalescent, pale milky-blue colour. This particular vase is composed of two layers of glass and has therefore been listed in the catalogue description as cased. The distinct layers are evident when viewing the top rim from above and the thickness of the neck is highly desirable to collectors. Since it is no longer possible to produce opalescent glass, early pieces are especially sought after by collectors.

View our online-only auction, Lalique (June 17-26) for more information.


ALICANTE’ VASE, NO 998Designed 1927, cased opalescent and blue stained, engraved R. Lalique France No. 998. 10.3/8 in. (26.5 cm.) high Estimate: £25,000 – 30,000