• France, c. 1900–2
  • Gold, enamel, ivory, diamonds and sapphires
  • Inv. 1191
  • Signed: LALIQUE

‘Female face’ pendant

René Lalique

Nature, in the form of the most varied kinds of fauna and flora, and the female figure were recurring themes in the work of René Lalique, both in his early phase as a jeweller, which lasted until the late 1900s, and later on, when he devoted himself entirely to working with glass.

In this pendant, a female face with closed eyes sculpted in ivory emerges from the centre of a composition of branches and leaves in greenish-blue enamelled gold. The branches that make up the figure’s hair are studded with diamonds and the face is crowned by a sapphire, which springs from the gaping mouth of a chimera.

This beautiful-horrible dichotomy is once again found to be associated with the representation of a woman, in this case one who was said to be linked to a hypothetical portrait of Sarah Bernhardt. In the centre of the lower part of the pendant two other sapphires can be seen. The chain, which is typical of Lalique’s work, is made up of small bars of enamelled gold linked by rings created from the same metal.

Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from René Lalique, 1903.

H. 7.2 cm; W. 6.2 cm

Ferreira 1999

Maria Teresa Gomes Ferreira, Lalique. Jóias. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1999, pp. 186–7, cat. 45.

Updated on 02 june 2022

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