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We have dedicated this page to the rarest car mascot that Lalique produced for HRH Prince George. This was a one-of-a-kind non commercial factory presentation piece. Apologies for the coloured lines (highlighted for the publishers) as this is taken directly from the manuscript of Vol. 3 in the process of writing for publication in October. The images are located on another page of this website and the history of which is shown here:
A special one-off Greyhound (xiii) was alegedly produced and designed on 1 July 1929 for an official Paris visit of the (then) Prince of Wales, George (Albert), Duke of York, who later became King George V1 of the United Kingdom for his visit with Queen Elizabeth to the French capital in 1931. Note: Some books refer to this piece as having originally been produced for the youngest of the three royal brothers being Prince George (Edward Alexander Edmund when Duke of Kent), who was killed on duty while traveling in a R.A.F. Flying boat that crashed in Caithness, Scotland on 25/8/1942, so he would have been alive prior to this date to receive this piece, if indeed it was originally intended for him? Recent evidence does indeed suggest that this piece was intended for him.
This unique piece has the animal arched and pouncing in beautiful detail picked out in frosted glass on a clear glass ground having the engraved signature ‘R. Lalique’ to the left-hand side near the foot of the rear leg (looking at it with the dog facing left) and without ‘France’ as part of the signature. Unfortunately this piece was damaged (fortunately only the base) some time ago during its ‘captivity’; the broken bits are kept with the piece and I was informed that the original owner (who has possessed it for over 25 years) did not wish to have it restored. It is fitted into its original-period split ring produced by the Lalique factory on a metal lighting mounting base with a working light with coloured filters. Its dimensions are 12.7 cm high by 17.5 cm wide, and as such, it is considerably larger than the other two roundel mascots in the series. It has since resurfaced and was placed into Christie’s London auction house on 14 October 2012, this being a well-lit room where it could be photographed. However, it did not sell as it had a very wide estimate of £300,000 to £500,000. It has now found a new home in the USA...
Prince George, Duke of Kent, was the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary, making him an unlikely heir to the throne but placing him squarely in the spotlight of royal family events during England’s Art Deco years, which took on a sharper edge as the country declared war in 1939.
The prince (1902-1942) was a textbook royal in every respect. Perennially handsome and immaculately dressed to be seen at all the right places and with (mostly) the right people, but the foggy atmosphere of the day kept much of his life out of the press.
The royals have always loved sports, particularly those involving the chase, and George’s penchant ran to greyhound racing. He was a regular at “the dogs,” often accompanied by his brother, the future king. Prince George also loved cars with a passion, so his choice of automobile mascot was almost pre-destined.
The circumstances that brought René Lalique and the prince together are not clear, but George was a frequent visitor to Paris and the Lalique Company had a tradition of presenting glass to European crowned heads between the wars, including a spectacular table service presented to the visiting royal family in 1938.
All original Lalique glass mascots are rare, and some immensely so, this fine 'Royal Blue' example created in 1929 and known in the Lalique archives as 'Levrier 1' (Greyhound 1) is the only bespoke mascot made to commission and not put into commercial production. Named for its distinctive royal colour achieved by Lalique’s innovative use of a blue light filter fitted in the custom mounting, the mascot is designed to be illuminated on an automobile’s prominent radiator cap. Imagine that speeding through the English countryside in 1930. This Levrier is likely inspired by the most famous racing greyhound of all time, Mick the Miller, who made headlines during a brief racing career that began with a record-breaking run at the English Greyhound Derby in 1929.
Courtesy Christie's London auction house and Heritage Auctions USA. . Apologies for the highlights, as taken directly from the draft of ''Unique Lalique Mascots Vol. 3'' book which is in production at this time and the article will be amended accourdingly after October 2018.