<title>“Unique Lalique Mascots”-<sub title> “The Automotive Radiator Hood Ornaments of master glass artisan R. Lalique (including 2015-16 auction realisation prices) for collector's Vol. 2” by G.G. Weiner
<chap>Introduction: A note from the author. A report on the state of the market after the 2015 season...
Authors note that this is a rough layout that has not been edited or corrected by the publishing house as yet!
<text>As mentioned the Breves Galleries in London were commissioned by Lalique to design
mounting bases for the full mascot base size range and retail them. They were also the only outlet
<text>at the time licensed to be able to retail the car mascots as well. They promoted them very well with advertisements in many motoring magazines and popular newspapers of the time. They made some outlandish claims that would not be tolerated by the advertisement standards board of control today! The quotes here are taken directly from the advertising and promotional material of the period.
<sub>Quote from a supposed client:
<indnt>"I bought from you last Spring one of your
Falcon mascots for cars. It toured over 10,000 miles in Central Europe over the worst roads
imaginable and it is in as good condition as it was when new. This, I think is pretty good,
as the vibration must have been terrible".
<text>Also this more believable ad' taken from the The Autocar issue of May 1929:
<indnt>"Mascots by Rene Lalique, Yes the greatest living artist in glass designed a series for the motorists of Paris-and it was the judgement of Paris that nothing so original had ever adorned a <text>car. Beautiful by day, they are altogether captivating at night, when illuminated with concealed lights in rich and glowing colours. The models range from a team of charging horses to a dragonfly
poised for flight, and there are appropriate designs for every type of car. Exquisite works of art these, and practical too, for the glass is untarnishable and almost unbreakable. The authentic Lalique Mascots, signed by the artist, are obtainable only from Breves' Lalique Galleries, where many other lovely forms of glass are on view-all by the same master hand."
<text>Quoting from an advert placed by the Breves Galleries in the June 1929 issue of Punch Magazine:
<indnt>”Shinning, Scintillating, Lovely Lalique car mascots (the crystallised thoughts of the artist master craftsman Rene Lalique) are making their way to the bonnets of the cars of connoisseurs, there to stay poised, the dernier cri of aesthetic taste. Breves Galleries are the sole concessionaires
for these mascots for England and would urge you to make your choice where there is yet time, for only a certain number of them are being made, and when these are produced the moulds will be broken, thus ensuring rarity. Made of metallised glass, practically unbreakable, they are illuminated so that you can at once pick out your car at night. Mascots for radiator or dash (usual fittings) £3.3.0 Mascots (with light fitting) £4.4.0” The average wage being £2.2.0 per week and a pint of beer 1 & halfpenny...so they were extremely expensive at the time!
<sub>Quoting from the Breves Galleries original instruction leaflet:
<indnt>"Lalique Mascots look best when placed on the scuttle of the car, a short way behind the opening of the bonnet and anything from 6 to 8 ins. from the windscreen, according to the lines of the car. This shows them to the best advantage and obviates interference with temperature gauge or <text>Club or Association sign. All that is necessary is to pierce a hole in the scuttle the required size to accommodate the flex and to have three minute screw holes for fixing; it can then be connected to the battery in the usual way. It is a good plan to link up the Mascot light with the rear light of the car, thus showing instantly if it is functioning properly.
Lalique Mascots can be fitted to the Radiator Cap if desired; simply pierce the cap to required size,
insert the stem and screw the bolt home. The light wires can be carried through a small hole made in the bonnet top as near as possible to the radiator cap.
The Mascots are made of white glass and coloured by means of unbreakable and non-flammable
disc inserted between the glass mascot and the electric lamp in the metal base.
One disc is supplied with every mascot; extra one 6d. each Colours: Green, blue, mauve, amber and white. Multi-coloured discs, 1/6 each. Lamps are not supplied with mascots but may be obtained from any electrician or ordered from us if desired. (Festoon lamps 2/9). If any difficulty is experienced in fitting, please write to us at once, stating make of car, H.P. etc., and we will tell you how to put it right.
DO NOT FORGET when ordering, TO SAY WHICH POSITION YOU WISH TO FIT THE MASCOT, Scuttle or Radiator Cap."
<sub>Also quoting from a Breves Galleries promotional leaflet:
<indnt>"The motor mascots designed by Lalique achieve
a rare combination of beauty and distinction. They are moulded from a special glass, non-tarnishable. At night their charm is enhanced by concealed illumination in soft colours...
Among all the famous artists in glass, there has never been such a consummate master as
Rene Lalique. For Lalique not only possesses a rich imagination and an unerring sense of form he has an extraordinary faculty for exploiting the colour and texture of the glass itself. His versatility is astonishing He can be delicate, fantastic, bizarre or vigorous with his subject, and the originality of the true artist marks all his work."
<sub>Lalique's 1928 catalogue wrote:
<indnt>"Moderately priced now, priceless, for only a certain number of each design are made and then the moulds are destroyed"
However the official motoring organ of the age, The Autocar wrote:
<indnt>"By consensus of opinion, it has been agreed that Lalique glass mascots are among the
most beautiful ever made available for use on a motorcar."
<sub>The Studio annual Vol 101 of 1931 pages 129 to 134 entitled 'Car Figureheads - The Development by Ren/e Lalique of a Modern Field for Illuminated Glass by D.W. Last'
<text>Quote: “Prior to the war, M. Ren/e Lalique held a widespread reputation for stimulating designs in metal-work and jewellery (see, for instance, the article in the number for July 1905 and back to 1898, at which date M. Lalique was first illustrated in The Studio). It was not till the post-war period that M. Lalique commenced the designing the glassware now associated with his name and of which, though now past his 70th year, he is still the sole designer. In conjuntion with his son, with whom lies the responsibility for the economic and productional aspects of the business, Lalique exhibited work at the Paris International Exhibition of 1925, which brought immediate recognition and led directly to the opening of a London agency in the shape of Messrs. Breves Lalique Gallery, in Basil Street.
The combination of the two Lalique, father and son, is a happy one, and exemplifies in its practical success the truth, oft-repeated in these pages, that good design allied to sound econmic manufacturing methods can be relied upon to be successful in fields where an equal, or even greater degree of manufacturing probity and skill supported by weak or second-rate design will fail. The method used is the commercially practical one of plaster-moulding.
Lalique moulded glass extends into the fields of domestic fitments and ornament of many kinds, from light fittings, fruit-bowls and ash-trays to glass tiles, plaques and dining tables, and has been familiar to readers of The Studio now for many years. The present article has therefore been confined to the recent examples of Lalique work in motor mascots in this material, with the one exception of the fish on p. 132, top, which is a large piece for interior decoration.
A car figurehead is essentially and item of d/ecor, as much so as a glittering ornament in a lady's hat. Therefore style, form and colour are the important features. The two former are supplied by M. Lalique's vigorous and versatile designing; the last-named is variable at will according to the colour of the interchangeable light-filter interposed between bulb and mascot, the glass normally being plain white. Had the Norsemen but had the advantage of M. Lalique's science and material, doubtless their long ships' figureheads would have been much enhanced both in ferocity and appearance, and indeed, there is scope here for a fine yachts' figurehead, or truck-ornament. Nor is glass out of place in these modern structures of metal on the score of fragility, for the moulded glass is extremely tough, as is evidenced by these mascots having emerged unscathed from more than one head-on car crash. Moreover, being so easily cleaned, they represent a highly suitable solution in the modern logical spirit to a decorative problem.”
<text>It is said that the St. Christopher mascot was produced in a thinner form
(than the 16mm thick inter-war period piece) of glass post-war, with the signature engraved
'R Lalique France', however I have not seen this. An entirely new mould would have to be made to produce them and as far as I'm aware this did not happen.
<text>Incidentally Lalique did produce a St Christopher medallion in clear & frosted glass as a
dashboard plaque with a moulded image in relief of the infant Jesus along with the
patron Saint of travel as catalogue number #1238 in 1943, then reintroduced in 1947 and
again in 1951. It was 7.5cm in diameter and was mounted into a chrome retaining
ring with eyelets at the sides so to fix in the desired place on the dashboard
It is also said that the Germans used the T^ete d'Aigle as a car mascot emblem representing the
eagle of the Third Reich, again I've never seen photographic evidence of this mounted on
any vehicle of that period. If anyone has evidence of this please get in touch.
<sub>Who bought them?
<text>Not everyone could afford them as they were very expensive at the time, especially
when you included any of the mounting bases in the equation The elite of society bought them mainly for what they were, a luxury accessory to show-off on the radiator tops of their cars, be it the French Citr..oen, Delahaye, Delage, Voisin, the Belgium Minerva, the Italian Bugatti, the British Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lagonda, Invictor, Napier, Railton, the American Auburn, Cord, Lincoln, Packard, Pierce-Arrow, the German Mercedes Benz, the Italian Issotta-Fraschini or the Spanish-Swiss Hispano-Suiza together with many other prestigious makes of the age. The largest mascot produced was Victoire which epitomises the Art Deco style of the period and this premièred on the
radiator cap of a Minerva at the 1928 Paris Motor Show (Salon).
For example the oil billionaire Nublar Gulbenkian sported a Chrysis mascot (replacing the usual Spirit of Ecstasy flying lady mascot, which in this case would have been the kneeling lady version) on his special coach-built Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith limousine by Hooper's of London.
<sub>What to pay for them:
<indnt>"How long is a piece of string?"...
<text>...the answer is variable! A mascot at a sale may fetch 'x' amount
and an identical one may fetch a 'y' amount at the next sale...there are no fixed prices,
however experts at auction houses will give you an estimate for any that are coming up for sale.
Have a look at past auction catalogues and websites for results and check out dealers listings
<text>(many are reluctant to make their prices public so you would have to ask).
In general terms the more common items will be the least expensive
unless they are a tinted colour variation. The rarer ones of course will always be expensive!
Continued in the book.... available to purchase here on eBay!