Property of a Distinguished Collector
"WISTERIA" TABLE LAMP
with a "Tree" base
leaded glass, patinated bronze
base impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK/342
27½ in. (69.9 cm) high
18¼ in. (46.4 cm) diameter of shade
Overall in very good condition. This superb Wisteria shade displays an earlier variation of the glass cutting pattern, which allows us to date the shade to 1903. In addition to its early glass pattern and sharp shoulder, further indicating its early production, the shade is distinguished by the unusual treatment of the border surrounding the upper reticulated bronze armature. In most models, the uppermost region above the shoulder is filled in with leaded glass, extending the shade's foliate composition; in the present example these passages alternate with leaded glass and triangular areas in reserve, creating a dramatic effect and enhancing the lightness and movement of the shade. Please feel welcome to contact the department for images of the upper armature. In addition, in most other examples of the model, the cast bronze branches descend further into the leaded glass composition; however in the present example, the branches are articulated in leaded glass, adding further visual interest to the shade. The shade is executed with a cool blue and purple color palette, ranging from soft periwinkle and lavender to grey-blue, and accented by vibrant apple green and yellow leaves. The shade with approximately 23 hairline cracks dispersed throughout which have been recently sensitively stabilized by a professional glass conservator, all stable and not visually distracting. The shade with some minor traces of surface soiling to the contours adjacent to the lead lines, consistent with age. As is commonly seen with the "Wisteria" model, a few of the lower panicles along the bottom irregular border are very subtly bent inward. These elements all appear stable. The top bronze armature of the shade and lower branching is finely cast and presents with some gentle rubbing to the high points and some light surface soiling and minor oxidation to the recessed contours. The "Tree" base is in very good condition with some occasional light surface scratches and abrasions, and with some traces of light surface soiling and oxidation to the recessed contours of the branching consistent with age and gentle use. The base appears to have been executed later than the shade, indicated by the configuration of the top of the base column. As a result, the interior of the shade appears to have been retro-fitted in the period by Tiffany Studios with a custom assembly mechanism to form the unit, which displays harmoniously overall. The base retains its original switch mechanism and is outfitted with a replaced Perkins knob. All four electrical sockets appear to be original and undisturbed. The lamp displays beautifully in person with strong visual presence owing to its stunning coloration and unusual technical qualities.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Private Collection, acquired directly from Tiffany Studios, New York, 1921
Thence by descent
Christie's South Kensington, November 15, 1976, lot 211
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Dr. Egon Neustadt, The Lamps of Tiffany, New York, 1970, p. 215
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany At Auction, New York, 1981, pp. 89 and 148
William Feldstein, Jr. and Alastair Duncan, The Lamps of Tiffany Studios, New York, 1983, pp. 36-37
Alastair Duncan, Louis C. Tiffany: The Garden Museum Collection, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2004, pp. 292-293
Martin Eidelberg, Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Nancy A. McClelland and Lars Rachen, The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 2005, pp. 106-107
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2007, p. 67
Martin Eidelberg, Nina Gray and Margaret K. Hofer, A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls, London, 2007, p. 48
Designed in 1901 by Clara Driscoll, the “Wisteria” lamp quickly became one of the most successful models produced by Tiffany Studios. Its complex pattern is comprised of nearly 2,000 individually cut and selected glass tiles. As a result, each Wisteria lamp possesses its own distinct character and color palette, despite being a standard model. Technical aspects of the model evolved following its conception at the turn of the century. Early examples of the shade model, such as the present lot, feature a sharp shoulder, whereas later versions display a gentler curve descending from the upper bronze armature. The glass pattern of the model was also revised slightly over the years. The pattern of the present shade can be dated to 1903, while its "Tree" base appears to have been produced slightly later, around 1910-1915. In addition to its rich and artistic glass selection, this shade is further distinguished by the unusual execution of its cast bronze armature. While most Wisteria lamps include leaded glass between the bronze branches of the armature, here some of those spaces are left open. The effect is incredibly dynamic and is an indication of this shade’s early production and likely experimental production.