The Doros Collection: The Art Glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany

The Doros Collection: The Art Glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 322. A Rare "Flame" Table Lamp.

Tiffany Studios

A Rare "Flame" Table Lamp

Auction Closed

June 7, 10:21 PM GMT


50,000 - 70,000 USD

Lot Details


Tiffany Studios

A Rare "Flame" Table Lamp

circa 1905

leaded glass, patinated bronze

base impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK/438/S8470

32¼ in. (81.9 cm) high

11½ in. (29.2 cm) diameter of shade

Christie’s New York, October 9, 1982, lot 271
Norman Porter and Douglas Jackson, Tiffany Glassware, New York, 1988, p. 78 (for the present lot illustrated)
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2019, p. 187, no. 746 (for the present lot illustrated)

Fashioned from the Fires: The "Flame" Table Lamp

The initial table lamps produced by the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company were fuel lamps and featured blown, not leaded, Favrile glass shades. Many of these shades were spherical, with an opening at the top to accommodate a glass chimney. The company gradually added leaded glass shades to its production as electricity became more available in the late 1890s. A few years later, spherical, or “ball” shades as the firm called them, were a very small part of the overall inventory. The Tiffany Studios 1906 Price List includes only three models, all with 10-inch diameters: Plain (no. 1540), Dogwood (no. 1544) and Autumn Leaves (no. 1546). No leaded glass “ball” shades appear in the company’s 1913 Price List and were likely discontinued well before then.

Fire was a central theme for several of Tiffany’s early leaded glass windows. Perhaps the company’s finest representation of fire in a window was made especially for the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle. The “Four Seasons,” designed by Louis Tiffany, was comprised of four distinct panels set within an ornate border. The “Winter” section has a highly evocative scene of a roaring campfire beneath a snow-laden pine bough set against a darkening twilight sky.

Although Louis Tiffany is credited with the motif, Clara Driscoll was intimately involved with its creation. The panel was scheduled to be made by the Women’s Glass Cutting Department in March 1899, but Tiffany was unable to supervise its construction as he was stricken with a bad cold and unable to leave his 72nd Street home. Driscoll was summoned to the mansion, where she and Tiffany further developed and refined the design of what Clara referred to as “the snow window.”

Tiffany was so enamored with the “Four Seasons” that it was also displayed at the 1901 Pan-American World’s Fair in Buffalo, New York, the 1902 Prima Esposizionie Internazionale d’Arte Decorativa Moderna held in Turin, Italy and was eventually installed at Laurelton Hall. It is now in the permanent collection of the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Florida.

This “Flame,” also sometimes referred to as the “Fire,” table lamp was probably made shortly after the “Four Seasons” window. The lamp is apparently unique and was made together with a purported companion “Ice” lamp, as a set both recalling the vivid imagery of the aforementioned “Winter” panel. The design is fascinating, as the geometric construction of the shade replicates a geodesic dome, a structure that was not invented until shortly after World War I. The lower third of the shade depicts a roaring fire in shades of amber, orange and red. Rising from the flames is billowing blue, violet and blue-streaked white smoke with flickering orange flames peeking through near the top. The globe is supported by a three-armed patinated bronze base described in the 1906 Price List as “Tyler, stem, standard, for No. 1546 ball, $55.00.” The base was discontinued but reappears slightly modified a few years later as a smoker’s stand, model number 1651.

As a personal aside, it should be noted that Jay, my father, made a pledge never to collect Tiffany leaded glass lamps after he was thoroughly embarrassed by purchasing a Woodbine example at a below-market price. Jay was exceptionally proud with himself for getting such a bargain until Minna Rosenblatt, a leading Tiffany dealer and a close family friend, revealed the lamp to be an obvious reproduction, and a rather bad one at that.

The “Flame” lamp appeared at auction approximately 7 years after that incident. Jay fell in love with it, but did not examine it carefully as the estimate was far beyond his budget. However, when the bidding stopped at $9,800, he raised his hand at $9,900, which amazingly turned out to be the winning bid. The lamp was soon situated at home across from my father’s desk, where he could admire it every evening after work.

- PD