Posts Tagged ‘Tiffany’
When you think of lighting and art, you might automatically think of gallery-style lighting meant to illuminate a painting or a photograph. It’s easy to overlook the light fixture itself as a decorative object; but lamps can not only be an integral part of the décor, they can themselves be works of art. A classic example of the lighting fixture as a work of art is the Tiffany lamp.
The Tiffany lamp began as the brainchild of Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of the founder of the well-known jeweler, Tiffany and Co. Louis was already well-known for his stained-glass windows when the invention of the electric light bulb by his contemporary, Thomas Edison, inspired him to use left-over pieces of stained glass from his windows to create light-up electric art. He unveiled some of the first Tiffany Lamps at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and his studio began manufacturing them commercially in 1895.
Although Tiffany has long been given credit for the elaborate Art Nouveau designs that marked the height of his lamps’ early 20th century popularity, in February, 2007, the New York Times reported that historians had uncovered documents proving that the creative talent behind many of the more popular designs actually belonged to Clara Driscoll and the team of women she supervised, who worked for Tiffany in the uncelebrated role of “glass cutters.”
Regardless of who originated the designs, the Tiffany lamp is a timeless, still sought-after classic. Authentic originals have sold in auction for millions of dollars, and are exhibited in art museums all over the world. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a millionaire or an art collector to enjoy the beauty of a Tiffany lamp in your own home. Licensed reproductions are still made today by manufacturers such as Meyda Tiffany, Dale Tiffany and Quoizel, offering the same quality of the originals at a fraction of the cost.
Q. What are the historical roots of Tiffany?
A. Louis Comfort Tiffany was the son of Charles Tiffany, the famous New York City jeweler. Tiffany became a legendary artist, painter, designer and architect who thrived in the late 1800s to the early 20th Century. He invented new methods of creating stained-glass lamps using a new type of glowing, Favrile iridescent glass, which is indelibly associated with the name Tiffany. He was a world traveler and was inspired by much of the art and antiques of Europe, and in response he created many Roman and Mediterranean designs, among several other styles.
Today, several different companies including Dale Tiffany, Kichler, Quoizel, Meyda handcraft Tiffany reproductions using the same type of glass and designs that Tiffany himself used. These companies also create their own original designs as well.
Q. Who were some of the other important early pioneers of Tiffany-style lamps?
A. There were other studios doing various types of decorative lighting. One was Duffner and Kimberly, and Meyda Tiffany has a reproduction collection of its lamps in its line. Another was Handel Studios, well known for painted and leaded glass shades with quality that rivaled Tiffany’s. In addition, the Pairpoint Corp. produced reverse-painted, three-dimensional floral table lamps during the 1920s. Other artists who were developing Nouveau and Mission designs were William Morris, Frank Lloyd Wright and Gustav Stickley. Their designs were a little different from Tiffany’s, but they all used art and stained glass.
Another company, Quality Bent Glass, manufactured Tiffany-style lamps for Tiffany studios and is also credited with making the original Coca-Cola® chandeliers. Quality Bent Glass was founded around 1900. Meyda Tiffany acquired the company about a decade ago and continues to use the original tools, molds and techniques.
Q. What are some of the more popular styles in Tiffany and other art glass designs right now?
A. Stained-glass windows and fire-place screens, some of which are Tiffany or Frank Lloyd Wright designs, are popular. Quoizel also has their Autumn Ridge Series of outdoor lanterns and indoor lamps and fixtures with hand rubbed bronze frames. Additionally, Meyda offers the Old Forge Collection of American-made custom-crafted steel lighting and accessories that incorporate art glass shades with wildlife designs, featuring the Lodge look that is popular today.
Q. What style of decor compliments Tiffany?
A. Tiffany lighting works with almost anything. Perhaps the best word to describe the look is “eclectic.” Using art glass and Tiffany’s famous copper-foil construction process, Meyda has introduced many looks in decorative lighting. From the new Metro line with a contemporary look to fleur-de-lis, sunflower, grape and rose styles, Meyda integrates Old World craftsmanship with fresh, new looks and original designs. Most importantly, custom Tiffany and other art glass lighting and decor can be created in nearly any design and size imaginable