The first Tiffany lamp was made in 1895 and the style became so popular that any stained-glass effect lamp ever since has been called a Tiffany lamp. Don’t be fooled though – the originals made by American art nouveau artist Louis Comfort Tiffany are exquisite works of art. His father had high standards too, he was the founder of the famous Tiffany store as in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. Interestingly it is now thought that a previously unrecognized artist named Clara Driscoll was the master designer behind the most creative and valuable leaded glass lamps produced by Tiffany Studios. I love these flower inspired lamps which would sit well with much of our local housing stock. The company still exists today – have a look at http://www.tiffanylightingcompany.co.uk
Here’s an interesting piece by the buyers review with a bit more historical detail
Tiffany lamps were originally made by Louis Comfort Tiffany who was a painter working in the 19th century. He was admitted to the National Academy when he was 23 and was the youngest ever member. He started working with colored glass in the 1870’s and made many stained glass windows for churches, often using flowers and plants in his designs.
Following on from this he teamed up with two other artist to found Louis Comfort Tiffany and Associated American Artists, a company specializing in glass windows, a prime example of which can be seen in the White House. The company was dissolved in 1885 and he started the Tiffany Glass Company, alone this time. This later became the Tiffany Studios which made Tiffany lamps until the beginning of the 1930’s.
When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1879 he was inspired to make glass lampshades, drawing on his experience with stained glass windows and incorporating the flower and plant designs he had used for them. He also used the same methods as he had used for the windows, making paper patterns of the design and using these to cut the glass pieces, edging the pieces with copper foil and soldering them together to construct the lampshades. He patented the Nautilus lampshade, a shell shaped design, and included this when he staged his first exhibition in 1899.
Today Tiffany lamps and lampshades are still made to Tiffany’s traditional methods. The lampshades are made from many pieces of coloured stained glass soldered together to make designs which include flowers, dragonflies, butterflies and also more abstract designs.
Tiffany Lamps consist of five different design categories, one of which is Geometric Design. To better understand these designs it is imperative that you understand that Geometric designs encompass the shapes used in geometry such as, squares, rectangles, circles and triangles.
Geometric Designs are typically very symmetrical, incorporating a repeating pattern. Some of the Lamps within this category consisted of simple designs such as: plain squares, parasol and straight panels. The only thing that sets these plain designs apart from other lamps is the use of Tiffany coloured glass.