December 8, 12:14 AM GMT
12,000 - 18,000 USD
engraved 5872D L.C. Tiffany-Favrile
7 inches (17.8 cm) high
Imitating Nature –
The "Agate" Technique
Louis C. Tiffany’s love of nature extended to his fascination to gems and stones, a fondness enhanced by his many trips as a child to Tiffany & Company. He readily employed semi-precious stones in some of his earliest commissions and continued to do so for many of his firm’s interior design projects. As early as 1890, humble quartz pebbles that he and his children gathered on the shores of Oyster Bay were incorporated into his leaded glass windows and lamp shades. This fascination is further revealed in his glasshouse’s highly successful attempts to imitate the sliced and polished sections of agates. Tiffany was probably further influenced by his knowledge that agates were frequently used as a decorative element by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Tiffany was hardly the first person to attempt imitating cut agate in glass; that honor belongs to Friederich Egermann, a Bohemian glassmaker, and his Lithyalin glass that first appeared in 1829. Tiffany’s Favrile “Agate” glass, however, came the closest to replicating the actual appearance of the sliced sections of striated and banded agate. The first attempts at manufacturing “Agate” glass were used in the sheet glass for the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company’s early leaded glass windows. The glass was adapted for blown vessels shortly thereafter and “Agate” vases were produced until the mid-1920s.