Lot 205
  • 205

TIFFANY STUDIOS | "Peacock" Table Lamp

150,000 - 200,000 USD
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  • Tiffany Studios
  • "Peacock" Table Lamp
  • shade with small early tag impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORKoil canister impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK/29716 with the Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company monogram
  • leaded glass, favrile glass, patinated bronze
  • 27 in. (68.6 cm) high18 1/4  in. (46.4 cm) diameter of shade
  • circa 1905
with a "Peacock" table base inset with favrile mosaic glass


Mr. and Mrs. William Feldstein, Jr.
Barry Friedman, New York
Floyd Segel Collection, Palm Beach, Florida
Christie’s Yew York, March 18, 1999, lot 93
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Tiffany and Art Nouveau from the Segel Collection, Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, Florida, November 7, 1998-January 7, 1999


Dr. Egon Neustadt, The Lamps of Tiffany, New York, 1970, p. 139 (for the identical shade and base pairing)
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany At Auction, New York, 1981, p. 76 (for the identical shade and base pairing)
William Feldstein, Jr. and Alastair Duncan, The Lamps of Tiffany Studios, New York, 1983, pp. 57 (for the shade and variant of the base) and 131 (for the identical shade and base pairing)
Vivienne Couldrey, The Art of Louis Comfort Tiffany, Secaucus, NJ, 1997, p. 93 (for the shade)
Linda Marx, "Picture Perfect: Palm Beach Home's Art Collection an Inspiration for Norton Museum Board President Floyd Segel," Florida Design, December 1996, p. 208 (for the present lot illustrated)
Alastair Duncan, Louis C. Tiffany: The Garden Museum Collection, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2004, p. 308 (for the identical 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. 202 (for the shade and variant of the base)
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2007, p. 47 (for the identical shade and base pairing)
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, 2007, p. 7 (for the identical shade and base pairing)
Margaret K. Hofer and Rebecca Klassen, The Lamps of Tiffany Studios: Nature Illuminated, New York, 2016, p. 33 (for the identical shade and base pairing)


Overall in very good condition. The shade is executed in a vibrant, highly saturated color palette, which gradates from intense violet, cobalt and crimson, to aqua, ochre, and yellow in the middle register, to soft greens in the lower register. The peacock “eyes” are executed in alternating shades of cool yellow and dichroic orange glass (which presents a deep purple when viewed with reflected light) surrounding rich cobalt centers. When viewed firsthand, the shade displays greater variety and intensity to the color palette compared to the catalogue illustration. The shade with approximately 8 hairline cracks dispersed throughout which have been recently sensitively stabilized by a professional glass conservator. The sculptural “Peacock” base is in very good condition and displays a rich brown patina consistent with the shade patina, indicating that this shade and base pairing is likely an original unit. The bronze base is masterfully cast and chased, displaying exquisite detail articulating the peacock feathers. The bronze with scattered minor surface scratches and abrasions consistent with age and gentle use. The base is inset with strongly iridized favrile mosaic glass, which is highly complementary to the shade. The sockets and paddle switches appear to be original and undisturbed. With a period finial in very good condition with minor light surface wear. An outstanding example of this dynamic and sculptural model, displaying one of the most harmonious and desirable shade and base pairings. The glass selection is superb, displaying an exceptionally radiant color palette.
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

Iridescence and Immortality: The Peacock Motif in Tiffany’s Designs

The resplendent plumage of the male Indian peacock had endless appeal for Louis Tiffany. Through publications and his own travels, Tiffany was presumably well aware of his European contemporaries' exploration of the peacock subject, such as William Morris' popular 1878 Peacocks and Dragons curtains, as well as James Whistler's famous Peacock Room for the shipowner and art collector Frederick Leyland that was completed in 1877. For Tiffany, the motif was fashionable by contemporary standards and was made even more interesting by its rich iconography. He collected and studied ancient art and undoubtedly knew that the peacock was sacred to the Greeks and symbolized the god Hera. The Romans thought that peacock flesh never decayed after death and it came to represent immortality, an allegory that was readily adapted by the early Christians to represent the resurrection of Christ. In Japan, the bird came to symbolize selflessness, kindness and love, and the Chinese believed the peacock guarded the earth and promoted peace.

Beyond its cultural significance, Tiffany was fascinated by the iridescent shimmer of the peacock’s feathers as well as the design possibilities of the "eye" of the feathering, and it was no surprise that Tiffany utilized the peacock in a wide variety of themes and mediums. Possibly Tiffany's most outstanding interpretation of the peacock was represented in his leaded glass lamps, introduced around 1902. The magnificent table lamp offered here (lot 205) is artfully comprised of an upper and lower band of deep blue, teal and green "eyes" bordered in crimson and green-streaked yellow glass. The background of stylized plumage is executed in a wide range of jewel-tone hues. The quality of the casting of the complementary patinated bronze base is exceptional. The collar and body have an overall chased design emulating the feathering of a peacock's neck, breast and saddle. Descending from the shoulder are six feathers that continue to the scalloped splayed foot where they form eyes with iridized favrile mosaic insets similar to those found on Tiffany's related "Peacock" mirror (lot 225).

The firm's blown glass with peacock motif is beautifully represented in lot 219, a charming plaque with five iridescent purple, blue and gold eyes among intricate greenish-blue feathering on the transparent yellow ground. A more abstract interpretation of the subject can be seen in the glass selection of the rare "Peacock" box (lot 206), which is highly stylized yet maintains a subtle naturalism through the brilliantly iridized pulled-feather panels and deep blue cabochons representing the eye. From leaded glass to fancy goods to blown glass, Tiffany's thorough exploration of the peacock motif underscores Louis Tiffany's deep cultural, historical and aesthetic enthusiasm for the subject.