Lot 3
  • 3

TIFFANY STUDIOS | A Rare Covered Basket

10,000 - 15,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Tiffany Studios
  • A Rare Covered Basket
  • favrile glass, patinated brass
  • 4 5/8  in. (11.7 cm) high6 1/4  in. (15.8 cm) diameter
  • circa 1899-1905


Private Collection
Team Antiques, White Plains, New York, 2006

Catalogue Note

One is always surprised at how many exquisite and beautiful objects were made by Tiffany Studios, not merely those things that were put into production and are familiar, but also those that were previously unknown and are unexpected. This basket falls into the latter category. It is handmade and seemingly one of a kind. It bears the designation “D 422,” one of those puzzling, esoteric marks that Tiffany Studios used. A number of other unique objects—a table centerpiece and a cribbage set—bear “D” model numbers, which suggests that there was an extra, separate numbering system to the firm’s earliest production.

Constructed from a circular brass disc at the bottom and narrow strips of brass woven together as though they were actual straw, this basket is a clever translation of one medium into another. The fragility of this basket, like actual straw baskets, is suggested by the way that not all the vertical members are attached to the bottom plate. Once woven, the metal was patinated to increase the richness of color. The higher spots were rubbed to a lighter tone, thus furthering the effect of an actual straw basket. The insertion of the brilliantly iridized glass tiles, all of different colors and textures, is an enrichment that is the undeniable mark of Tiffany Studios.

While we most often think of Tiffany as a creative genius, he was also a passionate collector, especially of non-Western art and artifacts. This basket brings to mind his collections of American Indian and Japanese baskets—both formidable assemblages which he displayed in special rooms at Laurelton Hall, his country estate on Long Island. But even before then he had been inspired by such artifacts, as is shown by several lamps that his staff designed with patterns derived from Indian baskets. Whether this copper basket was inspired by an Indian or Japanese model, it seems to have been a free adaptation, especially given the combination of the woven metal with favrile glass.

MARTIN EIDELBERG is co-author of The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany (New York: Vendome Press), 2005 and author of Tiffany Favrile Glass and the Quest of Beauty (New York: Lillian Nassau), 2007 and Tiffany Favrile Pottery and the Quest of Beauty (New York: Lillian Nassau), 2010.