The Brilliance of Jewellery

Artist: Rene Lalique
Born: 6 April 1860, Ay, France
Nationality: French
Movement: Art Deco
Died: 1 May 1945, Paris, France

René Jules Lalique was a glass designer known for his glass art, perfume bottles, vases, jewellery, clocks and automobile ornaments.

Peacock Brooch, 1897-98, gold, enamel and moonstone

Lalique spent his early life learning methods of design and art he would use in his later life. When he was two, he moved with his family to the Parisian suburbs but travelled to Ay for summer holidays. These trips were a major influence on his naturalistic glasswork. On the death of his father he began working as an apprentice to the goldsmith Louis Aucoc in Paris.

Flower Branch and Three Birds Brooch, 1889, gold, diamonds and rubies

In 1872, Lalique entered Collège Turgot to study drawing and sketching. He also attended evening classes at the Ecole des arts décoratifs. He worked there from 1874-76 then spent two years at the Crystal Palace School of Art Sydenham, in London. He also practiced as an apprentice goldsmith with the leading Parisian art Nouveau jeweller and goldsmith, Louis Aucoc. At the college he improved his skills in graphic design and developed his naturalistic approach to art.

Pansy Brooch, diamonds and glass

When Lalique returned from England he worked as a freelance artist, designing pieces of jewellery for the French jewellers Cartier and Boucheron among others. In 1885 he opened his own business and designed and made his own jewellery and other glass pieces. By 1890 he was recognized as one of France’s foremost Art Nouveau jewellery designers. He went on to be one of the most famous artists in his field synonymous with creativity, beauty and quality. Lalique died on 1 May 1945 in Paris. He was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France.

©JG Farmer 2019

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