Tiffany Studios

A Rare "Diatreta" Vase

Auction Closed

December 8, 12:14 AM GMT


20,000 - 30,000 USD

Lot Details


Tiffany Studios

A Rare "Diatreta" Vase

circa 1909

Favrile glass

engraved 5440D L.C. Tiffany-Favrile

6⅜ inches (16.2 cm) high

Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York, February 9, 1979, lot 266
Robert Koch, Louis C. Tiffany: Rebel in Glass, New York, 1966, p. 177 (for a related example)
Robert Koch, Louis CTiffany: The Collected Works of Robert Koch, Atglen, PA, 2001, p. 108 (for a related example)
Paul Doros, The Art Glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 2013, p. 207 (for the present lot illustrated)

Interpreting Antiquity –

The "Diatreta" Technique

Fourth Century Roman glassmakers are generally credited with creating the first diatreta objects, the term being derived from the Greek for “perforated.” Also known as cage cups, perhaps the finest example is the British Museum’s Lycurgus Cup. The exact technique for creating a highly-detailed carved outer cage attached by slender, short glass struts to the body of the vessel puzzled glassmakers and collectors for centuries. Louis C. Tiffany, as an advanced collector of ancient glass, was obviously aware of these rare and treasured creations. It is now believed that the ancient Romans used lapidary tools to create diatreta pieces. Tiffany’s glassworkers, however, had neither the knowledge, the time nor the expertise to replicate the exact technique. Their interpretation of the motif was accomplished by forming a diamond-shaped latticework, and then attaching it to the base and body of an object while still hot. These Favrile vases are exceptionally rare because of the great difficulty in attaching the latticework to the blown glass before the former collapsed. The present lot is the only known example with a decorated body.

- PD