Lot 319
  • 319

Tiffany Studios

Estimate
200,000 - 300,000 USD
Sold
bidding is closed

Description

  • Tiffany Studios
  • An Early and Rare "Allamander" Floor Lamp
  • base impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK/21551 with the Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company monogram
  • leaded glass and patinated bronze
with a rare telescopic kerosene floor base with applied wire decoration

Provenance

For the shade:
John Smith, Vacaville, California
Bonhams New York, June 4, 2008, lot 1081
For the base:
Lillian Nassau, New York

Literature

Theodore Dreiser, "The Making of Stained-Glass Windows," The Cosmopolitan, vol. XXVI, no. 3, January 1899, p. 251 (for a period photograph of the present shade model in mid-production at Tiffany Studios)
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany at Auction, New York, 1981, p. 140, no. 375 (for the base model)
Martin Eidelberg, Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Nancy A. McClelland and Lars Rachen, The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 2005, p. 67, no. 89 (for the above period photograph of the shade)
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2007, p. 200, no. 774 (for the base model)
David A. Hanks, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Treasures from the Driehaus Collection, New York, 2013, p. 48 (for the above period photograph)

Catalogue Note


As a horticulturist and as a designer, Tiffany gave pride of place to native American plants. Yet he made concessions for foreign flowers and shrubs that by the turn of the century were common in American flower gardens, so much so that they seemed native to our country. The list of lamp shades with these false pretenders is surprisingly long: wisteria, tulip, magnolia, cyclamen, poinsettia, and the flower presented here, the allamander (or allamanda), named after the eighteenth-century Swiss botanist Fréderic-Louis Allamand. This plant with its showy, large yellow flowers, was originally restricted to the warmer climes of Latin America but then, in the nineteenth century, it found a place in American gardens. It also found a place in Tiffany’s repertoire of lamp designs.

The design of this Allamander shade is rare, possibly unique. Although Tiffany Studios produced two other shades with this floral theme, neither recorded model corresponds in size and shape to the one presented here. Moreover, this shade has no tag identifying the model number. It is a very early design, because a photograph of the Tifany Studios workshop published in Cosmopolitan magazine in 1899 shows a workman soldering the leading on this Allamander shade.  If the model was introduced prior to 1900, it was apparently stopped prior to the publication of the 1906 Price List. It is close in design to the two established models, only it is larger and more attractive because of the greater expanse available for its densely patterned floral arrangement. The blossoms are piled one over the next, forming a carpet of brilliant yellow shading to orange. It is further enlivened by the variety of textured glass that was selected, with smooth, mottled glass and striated, rippled glass. When illuminated, the effect is very dense and rich. The green foliage at the top of the shade is repeated below the flowers and then makes a subtle transition to clear and white glass. This transition is abetted by the generous use of confetti glass, a type of glass with a sprinkling of thin fragments of colored glass on the exterior and underside. The effect is an Impressionist rendering of light streaming through the plants’ leaves, more as a suggestion that an exact rendering.

The base for this lamp, Tiffany Studios model 230, is equally fascinating. It is what is known today as a telescope base because it can be extended or contracted to change the height of the illumination, a very functional concession of Tiffany’s lighting. While we normally associate such floor lamps with electricity, as the swirl decorated fuel canister makes clear, this was originally intended as a fuel lamp. It is indeed an early lamp base, as shown by both the five-digit production number “21551” stamped on the underside, and by the early monogram of the Tiffany Glass & Decorating Co.  The elaborate design on the base and stem (Tiffany actually designated this base as “elaborate”), executed in applied bronze wire, reminds us of the extent to which Tiffany Studios at first relied on applied bronze wire bent into intricate patterns because their casting in bronze was limited.

MARTIN EIDELBERG
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