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.
13 1/4 x 4 x 4 in. (33.7 x 10.2 x 10.2 cm) (show scale)
Scratched on bottom: "04147" with original circular paper label printed: TIFFANY/FAVRILE GLASS/REGISTERED TRADEMARK" in circle around cypher including letters "GDT Co."
Gift of Charles W. Gould
Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848-1933). Vase, ca. 1900. "Favrile" glass, 13 1/4 x 4 x 4 in. (33.7 x 10.2 x 10.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Charles W. Gould, 14.739.8. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 14.739.8_SL1.jpg)
overall, 14.739.8_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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What is Tiffany iridescence and how did Tiffany and his circle achieve this effect?
Tiffany iridescence refers to the sheen and color-shifting properties of the glass surface. This was achieved by mixing together many colors of chemically pigmented glass and adding metal salts.
Tiffany and his studios were inspired by the iridescent quality of ancient glass (achieved through thousands of years of being buried and reacting to the environment) and scientifically worked out how to recreate it!
This case of Tiffany objects is like THE Tiffany; the one who makes the silver jewelry today?
Not quite, but close! The glass company was founded by Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of Charles Lewis Tiffany who founded the silver company that has its headquarters on 5th Avenue today.
Can you tell me about the peacock vase? My grandma had one that looked similar and I’m wondering if it might have been Tiffany.
The one you see here was created by Tiffany Studios and it's possible that your grandmother's was as well. It's also worth mentioning that a large market for reproduction Tiffany glass emerged soon after the studio closed.
This type of iridescent or opalescent glass is known as "Favrile" glass, an innovation of Tiffany Studios around the turn of the 20th century.
Do you know if Tiffany reproductions have any increased value?
Some high quality Tiffany glass reproductions have become quite valuable themselves.
Despite not being made under the Tiffany label, these pieces are also beautiful works of art that were created by highly skilled individuals.