Lot 1
  • 1

TIFFANY STUDIOS | "Vine Border" Table Lamp

15,000 - 20,000 USD
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  • Tiffany Studios
  • "Vine Border" Table Lamp
  • shade with small early tag impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORKbase impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK/10930
  • dichroic leaded glass, patinated bronze
  • 21 in. (53.3 cm) high as shown12 1/4  in. (31.1 cm) diameter of shade
  • circa 1905
with a telescopic tripod base


Private Northeast Collection


Dr. Egon Neustadt, The Lamps of Tiffany, New York, 1970, p. 63
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2007, pp. 90, no. 353, 139, no. 581 (for the base) and 127, no. 538 (for the shade) 


Overall very good condition. The shade is executed with dichroic glass which when viewed with reflected light displays a cool yellow-green hue, and when illuminated glows with a fiery red-orange palette accented by green-yellow mottles. The coloration is accurately represented in the printed catalogue illustration though shows far greater nuance and subtlety when viewed in person. The shade with approximately 8 hairline cracks dispersed throughout, stable. The shade with some extremely light surface soiling throughout concentrated to the contours adjacent to the leadlines. The telescopic tripod base displays a rich brown patina with scattered minor surface scratches, abrasions, and minor discolorations consistent with age and gentle use. The bronze with some occasional very minor traces of surface soiling and oxidation concentrated to the recessed portions of the design. The shade arms appear original and are in very good condition. The socket and paddle switch appear original and undisturbed. With a period finial in very good condition with some surface scratches, abrasions, and rubbing to the patina consistent with age and gentle handling. A very charming lamp with an outstanding dichroic glass selection and complementary base pairing.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

My Mother Was Right
by Burton Geyer

Paula will tell you that soon after I proposed marriage, my mother pulled her aside and warned her to keep an eye on me, which I must assume was rather ominous at the time.  I later found out she was counseling my soon-to-be bride that “If he gets two of something—he starts a collection.” My mother of course had spent twenty-two years lovingly and graciously giving up very limited apartment space to my comic book, toy, coin and cash register collections, just to name a very few.

My mother was clearly looking for an ally in her endeavor to limit my collecting pursuits.  Well, it turns out Paula had the same passions for beauty as I did and we hit the ground running.  One of our first substantial purchases (we were both school teachers at the time) was of an Art Nouveau sideboard that cost more than our mortgage payment.  Art Nouveau was our first love and some of our most treasured pieces are from that period. Being absolute novices at the time, we went to every exhibition and auction that featured what we love.  We were eager to learn everything there was to learn. In the beginning, we mostly just looked on with longing, but as our careers developed, we started being able to purchase the objects we so cherished.  We soon discovered that nothing looks better with Art Nouveau than Tiffany.

Our first significant exposure to Tiffany was Robert Koch’s first book, Louis C. Tiffany’s Glass, Bronzes, Lamps.  This is still an absolute must-read for any collector.  Our collection and passion grew as we began acquiring the pieces I had first seen in his book, particularly the candlesticks and inkwells.  His book became almost a collector’s checklist of must-have objects for us. We still have, and will never sell, our first Tiffany lamp, purchased directly from Gladys and Robert Koch’s home.

Being such neophytes in the emerging Tiffany market and so eager to learn, some dealers and collectors brought us into their extraordinary private collections.  One particularly memorable experience was in a Manhattan apartment in which the collector displayed his table lamp collection on the floor. Walking into that room was like stepping into a magnificent garden.  The lamps of all different heights were displayed as if it were a magical greenhouse filled with the deepest hues of red, dramatic iridescence, with the most realistic organic forms and textures.

Lillian Nassau was incredibly generous with her time, educating and sharing her knowledge with a couple of school teachers who were so in love with Tiffany.  Our first purchase from Lillian was a Turtle-back tile for $75, which still sits on my desk. Every Valentine’s Day, birthday, and anniversary we would scour the stores for that special gem.  We would joke with each other as auction catalogs came out that we hoped there was nothing beautiful in them that we had to own it. Of course, there always was the next object and amazingly, we always found a way to buy what we loved.

We were so fortunate to be educated by some of the great names in the business.  Our appreciation for the more beautiful and rare pieces grew along with our education.  We started to understand the rarity of certain objects and would commit to them whenever they became available, like the incredible woven bronze and glass basket (lot 3) and the turtle-back gimbal candlestick (lot 28).

We sought the perfect pairings of shades and bases.  We always wanted the base and shade to enhance each other’s beauty and create the experience of integrity.  It took years to acquire the gilt Tree base and the matching Pig Tail finial for our Laburnum (lot 71). Similarly, when we paired our dichroic Poppy with the glass ball Root base (lot 9), I thought the pairing elevated the lamp to become one of the more significant pieces in our collection.  As time passed, our taste became much more refined and finding the quality, beauty, and rarity became both challenging and exceptionally rewarding. We were always looking for what made our knees wobble. The Pony Wisteria (lot 10) is a truly rare and beautiful creation and in a class by itself.  It was an earlier purchase and I’ve still never seen one more magnificent. I recall fondly how placing it required rearranging every single piece of furniture in the room to feature it the way it deserved.

I’m particularly passionate about completely original items.  As much as I’ve collected lamps, I’ve collected original parts, sockets, risers, caps, wheels.  Anything new on these lamps always bothered me. I love the history and collecting items like the keys they used in the display cases in the store, “salesman samples,” and original studio marketing materials.  I have often been teased about liking the “original grime” on an item. A good example is the Daffodil lamp (lot 66), which seems untouched since 1910. For me, the original dirt contributes to its beauty. This lamp could not scream originality more.  The photo of it in situ next to the children was almost as prized as the lamp itself.  It’s quite satisfying to know this lamp was loved since its beginnings.

Over the years, several people in the business have seen our collection and they frequently comment on how beautifully curated it is and how amazingly rare some of the objects we have are.  While I understand this scholastic approach to our collection, we always bought with our hearts. At this point, it has become quite large and unfortunately, we have run out of appropriate space for it all (just as my mother predicted).  We never collected with any goals or parameters for what the collection should be. As many other collectors have commented, “we just bought what we loved” for the last 48 years and what has resulted is some of what you see in this sale. We hope these objects bring beauty and joy to their next stewards.