Lot 7
  • 7

TIFFANY STUDIOS | "Dragonfly" Table Lamp

200,000 - 300,000 USD
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  • Tiffany Studios
  • "Dragonfly" Table Lamp
  • shade impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS NEW YORK 1585base impressed 5482/TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK with the Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company monogram
  • leaded glass, mosaic favrile glass, patinated bronze
  • 20 1/2  in. (52.1) high14 in. (35.6 cm) diameter of shade
  • circa 1902-1905
with a rare mosaic glass "Dragonfly" base and "Spider" finial


Private Northeast Collection
J. Alastair Duncan Ltd., New York, 2006


Robert Koch, Louis C. Tiffany: Rebel in Glass, New York, 1964, pl. iv (for the shade and base pairing)
Dr. Egon Neustadt, The Lamps of Tiffany, New York, 1970, pp. 130 (for the shade) and 131 (for the shade and base pairing)
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany At Auction, New York, 1981, pp. 77 and 98 (for the shade) and 136 (for the shade and base pairing)
Robert Koch, Louis C Tiffany's Glass, Bronzes, Lamps: A Complete Collector's Guide, New York, 1989, p. 190 (for the shade and base pairing)
Robert Koch, Louis C. Tiffany: The Collected Works of Robert Koch, Atglen, PA, 2001, p. 71 (for the shade and base pairing)
Alastair Duncan, Louis C. Tiffany: The Garden Museum Collection, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2004, pp. 304 (for the shade and base pairing) and 306 (for the shade)
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2007, pp. 72, no. 276 (for the shade and base) and 176, no. 699 (for the shade)
Martin Eidelberg, Nina Gray and Margaret K. Hofer, A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls, exh. cat., New York Historical Society, New York, 2007, p. 67 (for the shade and base pairing)
Martin Eidelberg, Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Nancy A. McClelland and Lars Rachen, The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 2005, p. 194 (for the shade and base pairing)


Overall very good condition. When viewed in person the shade displays a wonderful aquatic palette with deep cobalt, sapphire and vibrant cerulean blue background glass, which appears more vivid and nuanced when viewed firsthand compared to the printed catalogue illustration. Furthermore, the various sets of Dragonfly wings around the circumference of the shade are articulated in varying jewel-tone color palettes. (Please feel welcome to contact the department for additional images of this lamp.) The shade with approximately 4 hairline cracks to the glass tiles dispersed throughout, stable. The shade with some light surface soiling to the adjacent contours of the shade leading and beneath the dragonfly wing overlays. The overlays are in very good condition and impart the lamp with great dynamism and texture. The mosaic “Dragonfly” base is in excellent condition. The base standard and foot is inset with iridized and decorated mosaic favrile glass. The inset glass is beautifully iridized and displays a superb range of color and luminosity. The inset tiles are in very good condition with only some occasional very minor fleabite flecks consistent with age and gentle handling. The base with some extremely minor traces of surface soiling along the recessed contours of the decorative bronze work. The bronze presents with a rich russet brown patina with some occasional minor surface scratches and abrasions. The riser and socket cluster above the base column appear to be later replacements, which present harmoniously with the base with only a very slight difference in patina. All of the sockets and paddle switches appear to be period. With a later replaced “Spider” finial in very good condition with scattered minor surface scratches, abrasions, and light surface soiling. A superlative example of this iconic model displaying the most desirable and artistic shade and base pairing. In this case, the coloration of the shade and mosaic base are highly complementary and present beautifully as a unit. The lamp is dazzling in person, and the depth and richness of the glass is magnificent. One must experience this lamp in person to truly appreciate the richness and brilliance of its glass.
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

Tiffany’s Dragonfly lamp was probably the first model that featured a leaded glass shade produced by the company and has become an iconic design. The model, designed by Clara Driscoll in 1899 and awarded a gold medal the following year at the Paris Exposition, attracted international attention and Tiffany Studios replicated the pattern in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The present lot, with its exceptional tonal harmony and richness of color, perfectly demonstrates why the Dragonfly is one of the most celebrated designs ever produced by Tiffany Studios.

The resplendent base of this particular example exhibits a marvelous combination of cast bronze and iridescent Favrile glass tesserae. Tiffany Studios produced an earlier model of the base that was able to accommodate a kerosene fuel canister. In that squat, ovoid example, the five cast bronze dragonflies flit at an upward diagonal over flowering arrowroot against an iridescent mosaic ground. This model, introduced a few years later, perhaps better suits the dimensions of the shade. The platform of the base has three beautifully formed dragonflies, with their spread wings almost touching and long tails extending to the slender column. Directly below them is a narrow rippled bronze band simulating flowing water. A bronze branch irregularly spirals around the column. Those sections left uncovered by the dragonflies and branch are replete with iridescent tesserae in gradated shades of blue and green.

The shade wonderfully compliments the base and beautifully reiterates the theme of dragonflies hovering over water.  The six encircling yellow and amber-red dragonflies, with filigreed wings in alternating color schemes of red and violet-streaked teal and of green and aqua, are on a deep blue mottled ground enhanced with blue and aquamarine cabochons. Taken as a whole, the shade and base create a truly harmonious and cohesive unit and brilliantly displays the exceptional talents of Clara Driscoll and the “Tiffany Girls.”

—Paul Doros