Lalique vase sale highlight at Chiswick Auctions

Lalique, the epitome of inter-war glamour, takes centre stage at Chiswick Auctions’ Design & Modern Contemporary sale on January 10.

The New Year event in West London is expected to be led by one of Rene Lalique’s most famous designs from 1927 - an Alicante vase. The popular form modelled in low relief with parrot heads (model No. 998 in Félix Marcilhac’s Lalique catalogue raisonné) was made in a number of different colourways. This example is double-cased with opalescent glass core and a frosted and polished outer, highlighted with a blue-grey stain. Signed ‘R Lalique France’, it is guided at £5,500-£7,500.  

Rennes, a similarly Art Deco vase decorated with stylised rams (model number 10-875 first designed in 1933) is in opalescent and clear glass with blue stain. It has an estimate of £1200-1800.  

An antique Lalique Alicante vase In the wake of an auction record for an ‘aquarium’ lighter at Chiswick Auctions set in December 2022, another of the classic 1950s Dunhill accessories came for sale.  

It’s not difficult to see how these uber-collectable lighters got their name. Not only do they resemble miniature fish tanks, but most were decorated with aquatic subjects. The thick layer of Lucite, a material developed by the American air force during the Second World War, provides an illusion of movement.  

The example here is engraved with to the front panel with three grey fish and to the reverse with a pair of black Betta fish. It is expected to bring £2000-4000. Twelve months ago, a lighter depicting a pair of water birds to one side and a snowy heron to the other raced away to bring £13,000.  

An antique aquarium Dunhill lighter

Classic post-war designs from Scandinavia include a model 3300 ‘Airport’ four-seater sofa designed by Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971) for Fritz Hansen. The series 3300 suite of seating furniture –characterised by straight lines and oblique angles - was first created by Jacobsen in 1956 for the Rødovre Town Hall but it became famous when it was used from 1959 in SAS’s new air terminal hotel in Copenhagen. The example in the sale is upholstered in tan leather with a wrap-around tubular chromed frame and carries an estimate of £3000-5000.  

Among the best-known designs of Italian Gabriella Crespi (1922-2017) is the Kaleidoscope series of c.1970 table lamps with elongated octahedron shaped shades. An example in the sale is guided at £2,000-£4,000, while a patinated bronze ‘Hydra’ side table, a 2009 design by the Paris-based artist and designer Mattia Bonetti (b. 1952) has expectations of £4000-£6,000.  

British-made pieces in the sale are led by a classic of Yorkshire arts and crafts, an oak sideboard bearing the carved mouse signature of Robert Thompson (1876-1955). The sideboard – one of nine Mouseman pieces in the auction – carries an estimate of £3,000-5,000.