The Queen of Crystal

By Louise Irvine

We are excited to receive a spectacular Lalique glass screen on loan from Jeff and Penny Spellens of Los Angeles, CA. The screen was designed by Marie-Claude Lalique, granddaughter of René, the renowned pioneer of French Art Deco glass. Marie-Claude followed in his illustrious footsteps as a designer and became known as the “Queen of Crystal” among her friends and admirers.

Marie-Claude Lalique (1935-2003) believed that art should celebrate life and that everyone should experience its magic. She graduated from the decorative arts school in Paris and originally planned a career in theater design. However, in the 1960s, her overworked father, Marc Lalique, asked her to assist him in his studio. She brought in a live dove to model for her first project as inspiration. Working with plasticine models, she updated the Lalique designs to reflect the trends of her time, mainly by adding brighter colors.

Ms. Lalique explored the vast possibilities of glass, beginning with jewelry encrusted with sparking gems. Glamour and sophistication were the trademarks of her designs. She specialized in creating exquisite perfume bottles, capturing the essence of each fragrance in her designs. She sought new scents to develop her own perfume called Lalique de Lalique.

Marie-Claude inherited her grandfather’s love of nature and drew inspiration from her numerous travels, particularly to Africa. She loved animals and added exotic species to the Lalique collection, including lions and zebras. Her three-panel glass screen now at WMODA features relief flowers in vibrant shades of orange and gold set against foliage on a black and silver background.

Ms. Lalique became the president and creative director of the Lalique business in 1977 following the death of her father, Marc. When she retired and sold the company in 1994, she divided her time between Provence in France and Captiva Island in Florida. Her private collection was sold recently by the Lion & Unicorn auction house in Hollywood, Florida, and we are thrilled to showcase the screen that she used in her home, thanks to the generosity of Jeff and Penny Spellens.