An excellent early Marc Lalique frosted glass car mascot modelled as a naked kneeling beauty, her arms raised around her flowing hair in a windswept animated movement, the surface of the glass hand finished to emphasise the very detail of the figurine, signed Lalique France
Car mascots were popular for many years from the Edwardian period through to the 1950s and 60s, placed on or above the centre of the radiator grille either chosen by the owner as an ornament to personalise a vehicle or fitted at the time of manufacture. Mascots were usually cast in brass, zinc, or bronze and given a chrome plated finish. However some of the most highly desirable ones were made by the French glass designer Rene Jules Lalique (1860 — 1945). Lalique, known for his jewellery, glass perfume bottles and vases, was commissioned in 1925 by Andre Citroen, to produce the first ‘official’ car mascot of five prancing horses for the Citroen Cinq Chevaux. Several car mascots followed, including this one, the Chrysis Flying Lady, first produced in March 1931.
Chrysis (or Chryseis) was a priestess at the ancient Greek sanctuary of Hera at Argos at the time of the Peloponesian War. She is known for having inadvertently caused a fire that led to the destruction of the temple.
Thucydides mentions in book 2 of his history of the Peloponesian War that at the outbreak of the war, in 431 BC, Chrysis was in the 48th year of her tenure as head priestess of Argos. The burning of the temple, in the summer of 423 BC, is mentioned in book 4 of the same work. According to Thucydides, Chrysis placed a light near a curtain and then fell asleep. She survived the fire and fled from Argos to the nearby city of Phlius. According to Pausanias, her flight led her to Tegea, where she found asylum at the sanctuary of Athena Alea. Pausanias also mentions that in his time a statue of Chrysis still stood at Argos.
The catastrophe of Argos was later mentioned by the Christian theologians Clemens of Alexandria and Arnobius (who, unlike Thucydides, assumed that Chrysis herself had perished in the fire), as perceived examples of the powerlessness of heathen gods. Her case is the topic of an entry in Pierre Bayle‘s Dictionnaire historique et critique of 1695.
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