Today, to buy an original Tiffany lamp, you will need to pay anything from a couple of thousand to over a million pounds. Reinforcing our belief that botanical is always best, the lamps that are more in demand today are the brighter coloured floral ones that became iconic emblems of the Art Nouveau movement. The original Tiffany lamps were made from the 1890s through to the 1930s at Tiffany Studios in New York. The company was run by American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany, the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of Tiffany & Co. He had close to 300 artisans working ‘beneath’ him at the studio, most of which were women, the so called ‘Tiffany Girls”. In more recent years, there has been debate as to who the artistic mastermind behind some of the most loved designs really was. It was assumed to be Louis Comfort Tiffany himself, but then reinforcing another of our beliefs – that historically women artists haven’t got the credit they deserved – it was discovered through papers written by Clara Driscoll, the Head of the Woman’s Glass Cutting Department, that it was in fact her talents responsible for many of the best known designs. Whoever was responsible, they were certainly a plant enthusiast, as designs represented a diverse range of morphological characteristics. Tree inspired bases, made out of bronze were attached to cone or globe shades with botanical designs. Irregular vines and pendant leaf shapes of plants such as Wisteria, Grape, Trumpet Creeper, Laburnum, Clematis sat alongside designs of more well-known florals – Tulip, Rose, Daffodil, Peony and Poppy. In addition, Dogwood, Lemon leaf, Acorn, Woodbine, Gentian and Arrow Root were other examples of slightly less obvious plants. A Tiffany lamp is a design classic, with plants contributing to their time-less appeal. So what would be your botanical lamp of choice? We want the Gentian.
The Macklowe Gallery in New York sells the real things, authentic Tiffany lamps. Thanks go to them for use of these images showing a range of botanical designs produced.
Wire Mesh Poppy