Property from an Important Private Collection, New York

Tiffany Studios

"Peacock" Millefiori Paperweight Vase

Auction Closed

December 8, 10:47 PM GMT


20,000 - 30,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from an Important Private Collection, New York

Tiffany Studios

"Peacock" Millefiori Paperweight Vase

circa 1907-1910

favrile glass

engraved 9778D L.C. Tiffany-Favrile

6 5/8 in. (16.8 cm) high

5 1/4 in. (13.3 cm) diameter

Louis Tiffany’s glasshouse never made what are considered to be traditional paperweights: small hemispherical domes of thick, transparent glass encasing a design created with torchwork or millefiori. What are today known as the company’s paperweight-technique vases, however, frequently did employ millefiori encased between two relatively thin layers of clear glass and were an ideal medium to express Tiffany’s primary artistic themes.

First developed around 1900, the glasshouse’s initial attempts at paperweight vases were relatively crude and display the gaffers’ obvious problems with mastering the technique. The millefiori, composed of thinly-sliced fused colored rods, were simple, poorly formed and indistinct, and many early pieces have interior threads and inclusions that are visually distracting. However, the craftsmen  perfected their skills within 5 years and vases of great beauty were produced by the company into the 1920s.

The example presented here fully demonstrates the superior artistry of Tiffany’s glassmakers once the production problems had been solved. This vase is particularly noteworthy because it wonderfully features a motif other than the various flowers depicted in the vast majority of paperweight pieces. Also, the transparent glass is considerably thicker than what is normally found, adding a greater sense of depth and three-dimensionality to the design.

This glass encases a band of large and complex millefiori peacock “eyes” that are easily recognizable and superbly crafted in shades of chartreuse, navy, olive and blue. These are placed within columns of delicate cream, green, blue and violet feathers extending from the top of the inverted rim to the thick clear base. Finally, the interior has a light orange-gold iridescence that serves as a perfect background for the plumage. The piece superbly demonstrates the appeal paperweight vases had for Louis Tiffany, as well as for collectors of today.

Paul Doros