Tiffany. Part 2

Tiffany on 5th Avenue
Charles Lewis Tiffany   founded Tiffany & Co. in New York City in 1837.    He started with 1000 dollars that he borrowed from his father and  had created a company that became the nation’s foremost jeweler . Tiffany proved to Europeans and others that his American artisans were among the best in the world. You can read  abduct  Tiffany jewelry    in my previous post.    Now I'd like to tell you  about his son   and Tiffany Glass.
Tiffany  glass in Metropolitan Museum

 When Charles Lewis Tiffany   died at age 90, Tiffany & Co. was worth $ 2.4 million. After  his death   his son, Louis Comfort Tiffany took the position of vice president and artistic director of Tiffany & Co.


Originally trained as a painter, Charles  began studying the chemistry and techniques of glassmaking when he was 24.  In his early days  Charles worked as   interior designer. His commissions for Mark Twain, Cornelius Vanderbilt and the White House under President Arthur earned him an international reputation and great success.  Stained-glass windows were a feature in these interiors.

Tiffany in Metropolitan museum


In 1865, Tiffany traveled to Europe, and in London he visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, whose extensive collection of Roman and Syrian glass made a deep impression on him.  Later he wrote:  "Rich tones are due in part to the use of pot metal full of impurities, and in part to the uneven thickness of the glass, but still more because the glass maker of that day abstained from the use of paint".


Charles Tiffany  registered a patent for opalescent window glass,   where several colors were combined and manipulated to create   three-dimensional effects.  Unlike stained glass artists of his time, Tiffany mixed the colors into his glass rather than painting them onto it.  For every color needed, for every leaf or blade of grass, a new formula was found that provided the required shade.
Those formulas  were a closely kept secret in the Tiffany shops.    In 1885, Tiffany established his own firm. The artist  built his own factory in Corona, Queens in 1892 where he experimented  with colors, made high volumes of glass and  designed  windows and lamps.



Tiffany used the word Favrile (from the old French word for handmade) as a general trademark for his glass—and later for his pottery and metalwork. Favrile and “fabricate” have the same root, and Tiffany applied the name to his glass to suggest its handmade quality.

 Charles Tiffany wrote:  "Favrile glass is distinguished by brilliant or deeply toned colors, usually iridescent like the wings of certain American butterflies, the necks of pigeons and peacocks, the wing covers of various beetles."
Tiffany lamps are known all over the world. 


The first Tiffany lamp was created around 1895. Each lamp was handmade by skilled craftsmen. 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.

Today, original Tiffany Stained Glass Lamps now easily bring $30,000 to $40,000 each when one occasionally comes on the market.  Christie's Auction House has sold an original lamp for $2.8 mill. The highest price paid for an original stained glass window at a Christie's Auction was $1.9 mill in 2000.
Several companies mimicked the Tiffany lamp style in the 1920s with cheaper, lesser quality models. In the past 30 to 40 years, forgeries have hit the market that can fool collectors and experts alike.


 In the beginning of the 20th century Tiffany built a house in Long Island  few miles from  the Oyster Bay.    The 84-room magnificent  mansion on 600 acres of land was designed in the Art Nouveau style.

Oyster Bay view
Tiffany applied rich ornamental detail in glass mosaic, carved wood, and molded decoration in a unique blend of Asian and Middle Eastern sources. He decorated the interior of the mansion with thousands of fascinating and unique objects he had collected from around the world. Many also were designed by him or others in his studios—furniture, lighting fixtures, windows, desk sets, and more.
The house served as home for a school for artists run by Tiffany and his Foundation beginning in 1918. There was  Tiffany Chapel originally made for the 1893 Columbian Exposition    and a separate art gallery building  near the  mansion. In 1918 Tiffany established a foundation to maintain the estate in perpetuity as a house museum and an artist’s colony.
Tiffany died in 1933. By 1946, financial reversals prompted the selling of the building’s contents at auction. The home itself was eventually sold and the property sub-divided.  In 1957, a devastating fire gutted the long-abandoned house. 
Loggia from destroyed Tiffany House in Metropolitan museum

Fortunately many beautiful objects survived . The largest group—including artwork, windows, furnishings, and ornaments were bought   by  early admirers of Tiffany  Hugh and Jeannette McKean. Jeannette founded  Morse Museum (named after her   grandfather, Chicago industrialist)  in Florida, Winter Park to show her collection of Tiffany Glass.     
In 1978 the McKeans gave the Metropolitan museum of art    Tiffany porch, Laurelton Hall’s entrance loggia, which is on permanent view in the Engelhard Court in the museum’s American Wing.
 An excellent collection of Tiffany  in Met museum includes   Wisteria window, Autumn Landscape, and the dogwood window.  It also has several lamps, vases, and  -  possibly surprising to some people -  furniture, mosaics, boxes, and other items.   The four-columned loggia that currently graces The Charles Engelhard Court of the Museum's American Wing  was originally installed on the south side of Laurelton Hall.