Rene Jules Lalique was born in the Marne region of France in 1860. His mother recognised his creative talent from an early age and encouraged him into the jewellery making trade. Lalique's creative skills were apparent as a child and whilst studying at Lycee Targot he received his first award for drawing at the of twelve.
In 1878 Lalique became the apprentice to noted Parisian Louis Aucoc. He later moved to London to study at Sydenham School of Arts in Crystal Palace. He studied here for two years and gained influence from the growing arts and crafts movement. Lalique went on to open his own workshop in Paris in the 1890’s and established himself as one of the most respected jewellers of the time and with a workforce of thirty people.
The elite of Paris, for whom Lalique was producing for, favoured the garland style jewellery. This featured large jewellery such as tiaras and brooches which mimicked sprays of foliage and floral bouqets. Lalique incorporated these influences into his work whilst also crafting a magical fairytale style into his jewellery. Unlike other jewellers of this time Lalique did not often use large gemstones within his work and things such as diamond, tourmaline and ivory were not largely used by Lalique.
In the mid 1890’s the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt wore some of Lalique’s stage jewellery. Bernhardt later introduced Lalique to a wealthy Portuguese art collector, Calouste Gulberkain, who commissioned 145 pieces from Lalique between 1895- 1912.
In the 1900’s a selection of Laique’s work was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle. Lalique was also awarded Officer of the French Legion D’Honneur in this year. In the 1900’s a selection of Laique’s work was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle. Lalique was also awarded Officer of the French Legion D’Honneur in this year.
Lalique’s final jewelley show was in 1912 as he later went on to focus on his glass factory in Combe-la-ville. Lalique’s focus shifted from jewellery to decorative objects and large architectural and interior designs. Most notably Lalique’s work on the Cote D'azur Pullman express train and the glass doors of Prince Yasuhiko Asaka’s Tokyo. Lalique also famously produced stunning perfume bottles commissioned by perfume maker Coty in 1907.
Following the outbreak of World War One. Lalique’s production shifted from decorative glassware to practical implements for the pharmaceutical industry. German occupation closed the factory down until the end of the war but Rene de Lalique passed away in May 1945.
Today, Lalique's successors maintain the spirit of his artwork and style in a crystal design shop and the brand of Lalique is iconic. Lalique remains the undisputed master of a style and of a material -glass.