A Tiffany lamp is a type of lamp with a glass shade made with glass designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his design studio. The most famous was the stained leaded glass lamp. Tiffany lamps are considered part of the Art Nouveau movement.
Due to Tiffany's dominant influence on the style, the term 'Tiffany lamp' or 'Tiffany style lamp' has been often used to refer to stained leaded glass lamps even those not made by Louis Comfort Tiffany's company.
The first Tiffany lamp was created around 1895. Each lamp was handmade by skilled craftsmen, not mass- or machine-produced. Its designer was not, as had been thought for over 100 years, Louis Comfort Tiffany, but a previously unrecognized artist named Clara Driscoll who was identified in 2007 by Rutgers professor Martin Eidelberg as being the master designer behind the most creative and valuable leaded glass lamps produced by Tiffany Studios.
Most of his lamps can be grouped into one of seven specific categories:
- Irregular upper border
- Irregular lower border
- Transition to flowers,
- Flowered cone
- Flowered globe
The Irregular Upper and Lower Border lamps carry an openwork crown edge that helps to simulate a branch, tree, or shrubbery. The Favrile category, which means handcrafted, identifies the first lamps Tiffany made with this label. His initials LCT, later replaced the Favrile stamp. The Geometric category, done primarily by the male craftsman, speaks for itself. The Tiffany craftsman used geometric shapes such as triangles, squares, rectangles, and ovals to form these patterns for these lamps. Next is the Transition to Flowers group, which is subdivided into the Flowered Cone and Globe lamps. All of these lamps follow a nature, or botanical, design using flowers, dragonflies, spiders with webs, butterflies, and peacock feathers. The difference within these two smaller categories is the difference in the lamp shapes, basically a cone and a globe.
Aside from their categorization every lamp is prepared by using the copper foil method. First a pattern for the lamp is drawn out on a heavy piece of cardboard. Next a number and glass color is written on the pattern piece. After the pattern is drawn and labeled, the glass is laid over it and traced. Once the pattern is traced onto the glass, the pieces can be cut and ground to their correct shape. Next the pieces need to be cleaned so the copper foil can be applied to the edges. The copper foil solution allows the pieces to adhere together. After the lamp has been placed accordingly and it is fully bonded, the edges need to be soldered together for a firm hold. Finally after the lamp has been soldered it is cleaned to bring out its beauty.
Locations and Collections
- New-York Historical Society, Central Park West at West 77th Street – 132 lamps in the Dr. Egon Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass
- Queens Museum of Art, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, New York – the remainder of Neustadt's collection, which went to the museum after his death
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia – 14 lamps on display in the Lewis Decorative Arts Galleries, with an additional four lamps in museum's collection but not on display
- Kastner, Jeffrey (2007-02-25). "Out of Tiffany’s Shadow, a Woman of Light". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2011-12-07.
- Caitlin A. Johnson (April 15, 2007). "Tiffany Glass Never Goes Out Of Style". CBS News.com. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
Experts ... Martin Eidelberg are friendly rivals in Tiffany scholarship who independently discovered hundreds of the long, detailed letters Driscoll wrote to her family. "I just blurted it out and said, 'You won't believe what I found — letters from Clara Driscoll,' and she replied, in this kind of deadpan voice, 'I already know them," Eidelberg said.
- Neustadt, E."Lamps of Tiffany". Neustadt Museum of Tiffany Art. 1970.
- "The Dr. Egon Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass". New-York Historical Society. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass" on the Queens Museum of Art website
- "Collections" on the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts website
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- The dictionary definition of Appendix:Tiffany lamps at Wiktionary