Property from the Estate of a Private Collector, New York

Tiffany Studios

A Rare Mosaic Pedestal

Auction Closed

December 8, 10:47 PM GMT


150,000 - 250,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from the Estate of a Private Collector, New York

Tiffany Studios

A Rare Mosaic Pedestal

circa 1905

favrile and parcel-gilt glass tesserae, mother-of-pearl, abalone, marble, onyx, glass

33 7/8 in. (86 cm) high

20 in. (50.8 cm) diameter

Tiffany Studios, Character and Individuality in Decorations and Furnishings, New York, 1913, n.p. (for a period photograph of the model in the Tiffany Studios mosaic workshop)
Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Louis Comfort Tiffany at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1998, p. 47 (for the above period photograph)
Alastair Duncan, Louis C. Tiffany: The Garden Museum Collection, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2004, p. 189 (for the above period photograph)

Tiffany Studios’ mosaic oeuvre covered a broad assortment of objects, ranging from enormous panels to stamp boxes, from fountains to inkstands. However, the firm produced remarkably few freestanding pieces for domestic furnishings and the pedestal offered here is the only known example of its type. Tiffany fully recognized its uniqueness and significance when he included the pedestal in a photograph of the company’s mosaic shop published in their 1913 catalog Character and Individuality in Decorations and Furnishings. It was also featured in the Tiffany Room at the Marshall Field’s department store in Chicago in 1904. 

The pedestal has several interesting design features. Tiffany did occasionally utilize onyx in his mosaic designs, most notably for the imposing fountain he made for the inner court of the Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Building at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. The material, however, was rarely, if ever, utilized in any of the company’s fancy goods. That each of the ten cylindrical sections comprising the central column has a different mosaic pattern might seem unusual. In fact, it was a decorative scheme frequently employed by Tiffany Studios and is perhaps best illustrated in the Ayer Mansion in Boston, where Tiffany designed the interior in 1899. There, the five risers of the stairway leading from the ground floor to the first floor landing each exhibit a different mosaic motif. Furthermore, the mosaic banding in both the pedestal and the risers is comprised of colored glass together with gold tesserae and mother-of-pearl. Another similarity between the pedestal and work in the Ayer Mansion is the incorporation of thick transparent green-tinted glass. In the pedestal, the glass serves as spacers between the different sections of the column, while in the Ayer Mansion thick columns of the glass were used as elements in the large mosaic panel on the first floor landing. This combination of elements results in a spectacular and sculptural pedestal, emblematic of Tiffany’s virtuosic glass production.

Paul Doros