Of all the animals reproduced in the work of Lalique, the peacock is perhaps regarded as the most emblematic of the spirit of Art Nouveau, and it is a recurring theme in the artist’s work, whether isolated as here or in pairs in other jewels. The theme is again very representative of Symbolist painting, as a symbol par excellence of natural beauty in all its splendour.
This corsage ornament is made up of an enormous, articulated peacock in enamelled gold in tones of blue and green simulating the feathers of the bird which have small cabochon-oval opals set here and there. Sinuous movement of the feathers in the tail, turned to the left, is enriched by a balanced composition of diamonds, of various sizes, that finish off the piece on both sides.
Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from René Lalique, 11 May 1900.
H. 9.2 cm; W. 19 cm
Sigrid Barten, René Lalique. Schmuck und Objets d’art, 1890-1910. Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1977, p. 411, pl. 58.
Vivienne Becker, Art Nouveau Jewellery. London: Thames & Hudson, 1985, pl. 69.
Maria Teresa Gomes Ferreira, Lalique. Jóias. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1997, pp. 92–5, no. 3.
Katharine Baetjer and James David Draper (eds.), 'Only the Best'. Masterpieces of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, exhibition catalogue. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999, pp. 152–3, no. 73, colourpl.
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2001, p. 174, cat. 150.
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2011, p. 197, cat. 176.
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