• France, c. 1899–1901 
  • Gold, opals and enamel 
  • Inv. 1151

‘Eagles and pine’ plaque choker

René Lalique

Once again the artist chooses his theme from nature, from the animal and plant kingdom, for the composition of this plaque for a choker where the most spectacular element is the enormous, square cabochon opal, in the centre of the jewel. 

Made in cast and chased gold, and enamelled in green, one of the artist’s favourite colours, it forms an entanglement of pine trunks with pine leaves in enamelled gold with the pine cones chased in gold. The rectangular plaque seems to be hiding the terrible figures of the facing eagles, with curved beaks, enamelled in dark blue, which gives them a mysterious and, at the same time, sinister aspect, characteristic of birds of prey. These birds associated with the darkness of night were also a preference of the artist who used them as models for the most varied mediums.

The plaque is framed in gold to carry the rows of pearls (?) that completed the piece. Once again it is remarkable how careful the artist is with the finishing as the reverse of the piece is also decorated with carefully executed foliate elements in cast gold and chased to perfection.

Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from René Lalique, July 1901.

H. 5.3 cm; W. 10.6 cm

Barten 1977

Sigrid Barten, René Lalique. Schmuck und Objets d’art, 1890-1910. Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1977, pp. 230–1, no. 282.

Ferreira 1997

Maria Teresa Gomes Ferreira, Lalique. Jóias. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1997, pp. 126–7, no. 18. 

New York 1999

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. 154–5, cat. 75.

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