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Decorative Arts and Design

On View: Decorative Art, 20th-Century Decorative Arts, 4th Floor
Although Louis Comfort Tiffany also designed mosaics, ceramics, lighting, jewelry, metalwork, and interiors, he is perhaps best known for his work in glass. Tiffany, a son of the founder of the New York jewelry and silver firm Tiffany and Company, had already earned a reputation for his interiors and stained-glass windows when in 1893 he established what would become Tiffany Studios, a glass factory in Corona, Queens, with the English glassblower Arthur Nash. Together they developed a new type of blown glass that stood out for its embedded iridescent colors, metallic luster, and satiny surfaces. Tiffany named the glass Favrile, borrowing from the Old English word fabrile, referring to handwork. It was Nash, however, who invented the glass formula, which he kept a closely guarded secret—even from Tiffany himself. Tiffany Studios did not produce all the Favrile shades for their bronze lamps themselves. The studio collaborated with the New York City firm of Quezal Art Glass and Decorating Company, for example, on the lamp with lily-flower shades seen here.

Tiffany was inspired by ancient Roman and Syrian glass, which, when it was buried in the earth, had turned iridescent as it reacted to the minerals in the soil. Tiffany produced Favrile glass in a dizzying array of shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. He considered the pieces to be works of art and actively endeavored to place them in museum collections.

Tiffany Studios also manufactured popular but expensive bronze and brilliantly colored stained-glass lamps suitable for the recently invented electric light bulb. Clara Driscoll, head of the Women’s Glass Cutting Department at Tiffany Studios, was responsible for the design of this Dragonfly lamp. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, women played increasingly important design and fabrication roles in the production of decorative arts, including ceramics, glass, and furniture.
MEDIUM Bronze, opalescent glass
  • Place Manufactured: New York, New York, United States
  • DATES ca. 1910
    DIMENSIONS 21 7/8 × 15 × 15 in. (55.6 × 38.1 × 38.1 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE no signature
    INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
    ACCESSION NUMBER 74.96.2a-i
    CREDIT LINE Gift of John H. Livingston
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Eight bulb lily-cluster-type table lamp, bronze and opalescent glass. Base is round with incised scrolls on side and with raised reeding (sixteen) on top. The supporting shaft has a bulb shape from which eight stems branch, curving over at the top and each terminating in an opalescent glass lily-form shade. Seven shades are engraved "Quezal"; the eighth has no signature and is slightly different from the rest. CONDITION: Excellent
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Decorative Art, 20th-Century Decorative Arts, 4th Floor
    CAPTION Tiffany Studios (1902–1932). Lamp, ca. 1910. Bronze, opalescent glass, 21 7/8 × 15 × 15 in. (55.6 × 38.1 × 38.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of John H. Livingston, 74.96.2a-i. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 74.96.2a-i_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 74.96.2a-i_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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