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Tiffany Lamps – History and the Inspiration Explored

The turn of the twentieth century hailed a new beginning for interior decor. With the production of Thomas Edison’s commercially viable light bulbs, lighting became the focus of artistic attention – capturing the imagination of house-proud people across the western world. In this blog, we will be exploring Tiffany Lamp history and discovering the inspiration behind one of the most beautiful and iconic pieces of the time.
Louis Comfort Tiffany was a man born into wealth. His father founded the famous New York jewellery makers, Tiffany & Co, which put him into an enviable financial position. As money was no object, Louis Comfort Tiffany travelled extensively across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East during the late 19th century – a trip that was to inspire his lighting empire, Tiffany Studios.
Using Islamic and Romanesque architecture as his muse, Tiffany began to study glasswork and mosaic upon his return to the States. Following his experiments with iridescent glass, Tiffany became one of the first people in the world to create decorative, commercially available lamps which are still much sought-after today.
Irregular upper and lower border Tiffany lamp
Most Tiffany lamps can be grouped into one of seven specific categories. Irregular upper and lower border Tiffany lamps are characterised by an ‘openwork’ edge, representing the organic, freeform nature of tree branches or shrubbery. The large Josette Tiffany Lamp is an example of this type of lampshade from our range: “the consummate Tiffany Studios Shade” according to contemporary collector Dr. Egon Neustadt.

joesette tiffany table lamp

Favrile

The word favrile means ‘handcrafted’, and is used to describe the earliest Tiffany lampshades. The Authentic shades are usually inscribed ‘Favrile’ or with Tiffany’s initials – L.C.T – and are associated with ‘blown’ forms including lamp shades and hollow ware.

 

Geometric

As the name suggests, geometric Tiffany lamps are known for their angular appearance and simple designs depicted with shapes such as rectangles, squares and rhomboids. The clean lines of our Tiffany Fargo Floor Lamp presents a classic example of a geometric Tiffany lamp.

fargo tiffany floor lamp

Transition to Flowers

The Transition to Flowers group of designs is a halfway house between the geometric and flowered shades. The top of the lamp is typically linear, with the bottom half adorned with floral or leaf patterns on a more angular background. The Premier Lighting Tiffany Meadow Floor Lamp is an example of the Transition to Flowers group: classic and elegant, yet whimsical.

meadow tiffany floor lamp

Flowered Cone

Flowered cone Tiffany shades have straight sides and circular rims. Commonly adorned with natural motifs including florals and dragonfly designs, they were both easier and cheaper to make than curved shades – meaning this was a common type of Tiffany lamp.

 

Flowered Globe

The flowered globe style of Tiffany lamp is a complex domed construction, applying botanical motifs in a style that is more naturalistic than stylistic. The smallest of the flowered globes measures in at 12 inches, while the largest spans 28 inches.

Interested in seeing more? View our full range of Tiffany lamps – it includes wall lights, ceiling lights, floor lamps and table lamps.

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