Lot 204
  • 204

TIFFANY STUDIOS | A Rare "Fringe" Table Lamp

20,000 - 30,000 USD
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  • Tiffany Studios
  • A Rare "Fringe" Table Lamp
  • shade engraved S1012base impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK/S340
  • favrile glass, patinated bronze
  • 25 3/4  in. (65.4 cm) high15 3/4  in. (40 cm) diameter of blown glass shade19 in. (48.3 cm) overall diameter
  • circa 1900


Dr. Douglas G. Smiley and Lois Gross Smiley, New York


Dr. Egon Neustadt, The Lamps of Tiffany, New York, 1970, p. 46 (for a related lamp with fringe decoration)
Robert Koch, Louis C. Tiffany's Glass, Bronzes, Lamps: A Complete Collector's Guide, New York, 1989, pp. 106 and 127 (for related lamps)
Robert Koch, Louis C. Tiffany: The Collected Works of Robert Koch, Atglen, PA, 2001, p. 240 (for a related lamp)
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2007, pp. 76, 83 and 106-107 (for related lamps)
Margaret K. Hofer and Rebecca Klassen, The Lamps of Tiffany Studios: Nature Illuminated, New York, 2016, p. 30 (for a related lamp)


Overall in very good condition. This lamp features a superb decorated blown glass shade that displays a warm honey-ochre hue with jewel-tone iridescence when viewed with reflected light, and a soft golden amber and cream palette when viewed with remitted light. The shade with occasional scattered minute air bubbles and particulate inclusions inherent in the making and not visually distracting, and with some extremely fine and light surface scratches. All of the individual pressed jewel fringe appears original and undisturbed and presents with minor surface soiling and some minor bending to the wire, not visually distracting. The base is in very good condition and displays a rich green and brown marbled patina with scattered minor surface scratches and abrasions consistent with age and gentle use. The patina on the foot has been sensitively stabilized and restored in small isolated areas by a professional Tiffany conservator where the patina had previously shown signs of wear and minor flaking. The reticulated abstract leaf motif of the base is exquisitely executed and highly complementary to the fringe curtain. With period sockets and pull-chains. A rare and masterfully executed early lamp by Tiffany Studios.
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

The Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company’s first attempts at lighting fixtures in the mid-1890s did not incorporate leaded glass shades but instead employed their famous blown Favrile glass in metal mounts. Even after their leaded glass lighting began to receive national and international fame at the beginning of the following decade, the company continued to produce wonderful lamps featuring blown glass shades.

Of particular interest are the Tiffany lamps designed and made at the turn of the century as electric lighting began to become more commonplace. The lamp offered here is a most fascinating example for several reasons. The mold-blown shade, made of opalescent white glass with an overall gold iridescence and enhanced with broad wavy bands of bright iridescent gold, is exceptionally appealing. The ornamental fringe is equally attractive and highly unusual. In the period, the light produced by electric lamps was regarded by many customers as too harsh from below and the bulbs were frequently visible. The fringe on this example admirably solves the problem. Normally comprised of suspended iridescent gold prisms, the fringe in this instance is made of rectangular pressed opalescent white glass pieces, each with an impressed “thumbprint,” connected by thin copper wiring surrounding each piece. This addition greatly reduces the glare while adding an appealing aesthetic counterpoint to the shade.

Attention must also be given to the reticulated bronze base as it is of an apparently unique and unrecorded design. Perhaps the cost of production was too great because of the openwork column with its ornate design of stylized leaves. Whatever the reason, it is an ideal component, as its slightly domed foot, raised on six flattened circular feet, mimics the shape of the shade, while its incised ribbing augments the verticality of the fringe. Taken as a coherent entity, this elegant lamp provides an important insight into the history, technique and significance of Tiffany’s early electric lamps.

This lamp, and the previous lot, a “Lava” vase, were formerly in the collection of the surgeon Dr. Douglas G. Smiley (1917-1988) and his wife, Lois Gross Smiley (1925-2019). The couple began collecting in the 1960s and their Bronx home was replete with the works of Alexander Calder, Hans Wegman and George Nakashima. Lois had a particular fondness for the works of Tiffany Studios. Educated at the prestigious Dalton School and a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Ms. Smiley studied painting under two prominent artists: the Mexican painter Rufino Tamaya and Vaclav Vytlacil, who also instructed Willem de Kooning and Cy Twombly. She became a well-regarded member of the emerging New York abstract expressionist movement and her works were widely exhibited in major galleries and museums. Ms. Gross was later the assistant curator of exhibitions at the Hudson River Museum.