Tiffany Glass

Tiffany Glass from the
Tiffany GlassGlass Encyclopedia

Tiffany vase
above: vase by Louis
Comfort Tiffany

Tiffany Glass: A short explanation:

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) was the creative genius son of a famous New York jeweller. His flamboyant sumptuous lifestyle and family connections with the artistic world in Europe and America, coupled with his talent and dedication, took him to a leading position in the Art Nouveau movement. Starting his career as a talented painter in the late 1860's, he travelled extensively overseas and at the age of 31 (in 1879) moved into interior design; from the mid-1880's onwards he moved more and more into specialising in glass.

Tiffany was greatly influenced by the glass he saw on his travels to Europe. Two major influences were the art nouveau glass being produced in France by Galle and in Austria by Loetz and others; and the ancient Roman and Egyptian glass which was being excavated from North Africa and the Middle East at that time.

Tiffany was also influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain, with their beliefs in a return to hand crafting and their aim to make art more widely available. Like others affected by this movement, he sought to combine his own artistic design talent with the hand-crafting skills of a production team of artisans supported by automated machinery. The outcome, as with his great contemporaries in Europe (notably Lalique and Galle) was a split output; on the one hand the master's own genius-creations and on the other hand a large amount of "industrial" items made to his designs. In Tiffany's case these included most of his lamps and many small glass vessels.

Today, of course, any piece of genuine Tiffany output is treasured and commands a relatively high price, and the museum-quality pieces reach astronomical figures at auction. Prices have been increasing steadily since the 1960's. Even at the time it was made, Tiffany glass was expensive and remained the prerogative of the very rich. Indeed, Tiffany himself took actions which kept the value of his glass pieces high. He donated examples of his work to all the major museums, and if one of his vases stayed too long on retailers' shelves, he recalled it.

Tiffany incorporated leaded glass features and glass tiles into his interior designs and developed special glass for this purpose, using the facilities at Heidt Glassworks in Brooklyn. He opened his own glass company in 1885 producing his glass tiles and the special glass for his great leaded windows and screens. Many of these depicted landscapes and scenes of flowers, trees, water and birds.
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Tiffany designed beautiful lamps, typically having ornate art nouveau bronze bases and leaded glass shades with floral designs. These lamp shades were made by girls in a production workshop who were encouraged to use their own creativity in choosing and fitting together the glass mosaic pieces to produce the intended design. In this sense, every Tiffany lamp is unique and hand-crafted.

In 1892 he set up a glassworks at Corona, Long Island to make glass vessels in additiont to his decorative glasses. He encouraged Arthur Nash, from Webb's glassworks in England, to emigrate to the States and together they formed the "The Stourbridge Glass Company" glassworks on Long Island. His delicate, irridized, vases which have a magical metallic sheen in hues of gold or blue, were immensely popular.

If you are looking for Tiffany glass, you can usually find items on offer on ebay (click here to see Tiffany glass listings on ebay).

The items below are for sale right now on eBay - we thought you would like to see them.


Remember that there are several sources of reproduction Tiffany glass, especially the Tiffany glass lamps. These are very attractive and much cheaper than the originals.

References and sources:
1: Victor Arwas "Tiffany: all colour paperback" Academy Publications, 1979
2: Duncan, Eidelberg, and Harris "Masterworks of Louis Comfort Tiffany" Thames and Hudson, 1989
3: Vivienne Couldrey "The art of Louis Comfort Tiffany" Wellfleet Press 1989
4: Norman Potter and Douglas Jackson "Tiffany" Pyramid 1988.
5: Tessa Paul "The Art of Louis Comfort Tiffany" Apple Press 1987.

Here are some beautiful books on Tiffany and his glass. Click on the book covers below to read more about a particular book, including price and any available discounts for buying on-line.
Tiffany glass Tiffany windows Glass book Tiffany book
Tiffany glass book Tiffany lamps book Tiffany glass book




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