René Jules Lalique (1860-1945) was, and still is, a well respected French glass maker. Known for everything from exquisite glass perfume bottles to chandeliers, he is most renowned for his jewellery and beautifully sculpted glass car mascots.
These Lalique glass car mascots adorned numerous bespoke and luxurious cars, most notably in his Art Deco style during the 1920s. Attention to detail was key, as these heavy ornaments required a strong base, designed by Lalique himself, and he also developed a wiring and lightning system so that the mascot would glow in one of several available colours.
In some cases, owners also had the optional device that allowed the mascot to glow brighter as the car gathered speed. Proof then, that bling didn't start with Max Power or Halfords bolt-ons!
Above: Grande libellule
Lalique developed his skill for art and design at just 12 years of age at the Collège Turgot in 1872, while also attending evening classes at the Ecole des arts décoratifs. Here he honed his art and drawing skills, before achieving brilliance across the channel at the Crystal Palace School of Art in London.
Eventually, he would return to France as a freelance artist, designing jewellery for Cartier and other well known brands , before opening his own business in 1885, and finally becoming a household name in 1890.
Fast forward to the 1920s and the era of mass car production, approximately 30 of his glass car mascots were in production, adorning various cars of the rich and famous, often replacing the Rolls-Royce's very own Spirit of Ecstasy.
Today, these mascots which can fetch hundreds or even tens of thousands of pounds, can be incredibly rare. However, a stunning collection of 28 of Rene Lalique glass car mascots will be on show together for the first time as the glittering centrepiece of The Luxury of Motoring, a new display which opens early in 2018 at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.
Below are just some of the examples you can expect to see;
Tete d'Aigle (1928)
Tete de Coq
Thanks to https://www.beaulieu.co.uk/ for the images