Lot 303
  • 303

Tiffany Studios

80,000 - 120,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Tiffany Studios
  • A Rare Mosaic Pedestal from the Ralph Linder Pope Residence, Brookline, Massachusetts
  • favrile and parcel-gilt glass tesserae, mother-of-pearl, marble, onyx and glass


Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Linder Pope, Sr., Brookline, Massachusetts, circa 1912
Thence by descent
Sotheby’s New York, June 14, 2008, lot 71


Tiffany Studios, Character and Individuality in Decorations and Furnishings, New York, 1913, n.p. (for a period photograph of the Tiffany Studios mosaic workshop circa 1913 showing the present pedestal at the extreme left)
Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Louis Comfort Tiffany at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1998, p. 47 (for the above period photograph)
Alastair Duncan, Louis C. Tiffany: The Garden Museum Collection, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2004, p. 189 (for the above period photograph)

Catalogue Note

Tiffany Studios’ mosaic oeuvre covered a broad assortment of objects, ranging from enormous panels to stamp boxes, from fountains to inkstands.  However, the firm produced remarkably few freestanding pieces for domestic furnishings and the pedestal offered here is the only known example of its type.  Tiffany fully recognized its uniqueness and significance when he included the pedestal in a photograph of the company’s mosaic shop published in their 1913 catalog Character and Individuality in Decorations and Furnishings.  It was also featured in a Tiffany Studios’ showroom window display at 347-355 Madison Avenue in March 1910.  It might have been at that time Mr. and Mrs. Pope first saw the pedestal and purchased it for their residence in Brookline, Massachusetts.  In fact, this pedestal served as the stand for their Tiffany Studios "Wisteria" table lamp in their home at 16 Monmouth Street (see Sotheby's New York, June 14, 2008, lot 70).

The pedestal has several interesting design features.  Tiffany did occasionally utilize onyx in his mosaic designs, most notably for the imposing fountain he made for the inner court of the Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Building at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo.  The material, however, was rarely, if ever, utilized in any of the company’s fancy goods.  That each of the ten cylindrical sections comprising the central column has a different mosaic pattern might seem unusual.  In fact, it was a decorative scheme frequently employed by Tiffany Studios and is perhaps best illustrated in the Ayer Mansion in Boston, where Tiffany designed the interior in 1899.  There, the five risers of the stairway leading from the ground floor to the first floor landing each exhibit a different mosaic motif.  Furthermore, the mosaic banding in both the pedestal and the risers is comprised of colored glass together with gold tesserae and mother-of-pearl.  Another similarity between the pedestal and work in the Ayer Mansion is the incorporation of thick transparent green-tinted glass.  In the pedestal, the glass serves as spacers between the different sections of the column, while in the Ayer Mansion thick columns of the glass were used as elements in the large mosaic panel on the first floor landing. 

Perhaps the apparent decorative connection between the pedestal and the Ayer Mansion had an added appeal to Ralph Linder Pope (1887-1966).  While attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1908, Pope resided at 378 Commonwealth Avenue, less than two blocks away from the Ayers.  It is conceivable that Pope was familiar with Tiffany’s work in the mansion and desired something similar in his new Brookline home.

PAUL DOROS, former curator of glass at the Chrysler Museum (Norfolk, Virginia) and author of The Art Glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany (New York: Vendome Press), 2013