Sydenham Art College and Rene Lalique

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Ulysses
Posts: 893
Joined: 1 Apr 2009 12:30
Location: Sydenham

Sydenham Art College and Rene Lalique

Post by Ulysses »

I understand Rene Lalique spent a couple of years here in London, specifically at the Sydenham Art College.

Despite a bit of a trawl of this forum and the WWW I cannot find where the Art College was and, indeed, what became of it.

Can anyone shed some light?

I was reading this article and this paragraph:

http://www.worldcollectorsnet.com/lalique/

With the death of his father two years later, Lalique began working as an apprentice to the goldsmith Louis Aucoq in Paris, and attending evening classes at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs. He worked here for two years and then moved to London to attend the Sydenham Art College for two years. At the Sydenham Art College, his skills for graphic design were improved, and his naturalistic approach to art was further developed. When he returned from England, he worked as a freelance artist, designing pieces of jewellery for French jewellers. Following this, he opened a business in 1885, and designed and made his own jewellery and other glass pieces for the rest of his life.

Steve Grindlay
Posts: 606
Joined: 4 Oct 2004 05:07
Location: Upper Sydenham

Post by Steve Grindlay »

The story that Lalique attended “Sydenham College” was told to me twelve or more years ago by someone who had heard it from somebody else. I treated it then, as now, with some suspicion.

Many dozens of websites say that he was at “Sydenham College”, “Sydenham College of Art” or even “an art school in the famed Crystal Palace”. The earliest reference I have so far seen to Lalique studying art in Sydenham is in a French book published in 1964, “L'Art nouveau en Europe”, which says: “Lalique passa ensuite deux ans en Angleterre, au collège de Sydenham.”

There were several institutions that these claims might refer to, but it doesn’t seem likely that he attended any of them.

There was Sydenham College, opened in 1857 and closed about 1899. It was at the junction of Sydenham Park and Sydenham Park Road. However, it was an academic institution, preparing the sons the affluent middle classes for entry to university (or at least Dulwich College). Although “drawing” was taught it was a very minor part of the curriculum. Very few pupils stayed there beyond 16 yet Lalique was 18 years old when he attended "Sydenham College".

Then there was the Sydenham & Forest Hill School of Art, in Venner Road. This is an even less likely candidate as it didn't even open until 1899.

Finally there is the Crystal Palace School of Art, Science and Literature. However, men and women were strictly segregated here. The art school took only women students while men studied engineering in a separate building. It seems unlikely that Lalique would have been allowed to study at this art school, even if he had wanted to.

Some websites have suggested that it was the burgeoning Arts and Crafts movement that attracted Lalique to England. Had he come here it is highly likely that he would have visited the Crystal Palace to study the work of, say, Owen Jones. However, in the apparent absence of firm evidence either that he studied at a college, or even that there was an art school that might have suited his needs, it is not reasonable to suggest that he studied art at "Sydenham Art College".

Ulysses
Posts: 893
Joined: 1 Apr 2009 12:30
Location: Sydenham

Post by Ulysses »

Thank you for taking the time to reply in such detail Steve.

I did wonder if a) it was somewhere in Sydders that is no longer here or rebranded or b) somewhere else in London that traded on our [then] fashionable name or c) an error.

You seem to suggest it's a self-perpetuating myth more in line with 'c' and given I can find nothing to support a Sydenham Art College here in Sydders I am inclined to agree.

Perhaps a trip for I to the Local Studies Library in the New Year might be a good idea.

paultreacy
Posts: 487
Joined: 10 Jun 2008 17:40
Location: Lawrie Park Road

Post by paultreacy »

Fascinating.

Musée Lalique
Posts: 1
Joined: 9 Mar 2011 10:11

Re: Sydenham Art College and Rene Lalique

Post by Musée Lalique »

Hello,
I work in the Lalique Museum, in France. I read your posts about the years that Lalique spent in London. I am surprised! Could you give me more informations about this "women" Crystal Palace School of Art, Science and Literature? You said that men studied engineering. What is that exactly? And where was their school? Could Lalique have studied there?
Thank you very much!

kidcobra
Posts: 1
Joined: 2 Jul 2011 18:12
Location: Arizona USA

Re: Sydenham Art College and Rene Lalique

Post by kidcobra »

Hello. If someone will take a look in the book by Henri Vever, 1908 La Bijouterie Les Francaise au XIX Siecle in Volume III, my notes are that Vever says in his 1908 book (which is now available in English) that Lalique studied in Sydenham, though it is not clear exactly where (from memory). I don't have the book handy to check, but I know the Musee Lalique has a copy, and the answer will be known once this is checked.

Tredowner
Posts: 1
Joined: 12 Apr 2020 18:02

Re: Sydenham Art College and Rene Lalique

Post by Tredowner »

Eric Knowles is currently giving talks about Lalique on his YouTube channel. He mentions that Lalique lived in Sydenham for two years, but doesn't say that he studied here. He may well have taken the train into a Central London Art School.

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