Louis Comfort Tiffany was born in 1848 in New York City. He initially trained as a painter, studying with artists of the time and at the National Academy of Design, and in the late 1870s his interest in glassmaking led him to gain experience at several glasshouses. Soon word spread of his great artistic talent and he began to get commissions for prominent work, including the White House.
Tiffany opened his own glassmaking firm, and he and his team of designers created many amazing works of art, each a real treasure for its uniqueness and design. Tiffany’s stained-glass windows are particularly special, with more shades of colour and textures than had been seen before. Here is the exquisite Windows with sunrise in the forest at springtime, and autumn sunset (1905), in the Brooklyn Museum collection:
Tiffany is also famous for stained leaded glass lamps. These lamps became so iconic that now any lamp made in this style by any company is called a Tiffany lamp. The lamp styles include geometric and nature-inspired, the latter depicting everything from flowers to butterflies.
Inspired by a trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where he saw glass from all over the world, Tiffany developed a new type of glass. This art glass was highly iridescent due to its colours being embedded in the glass, not just on the surface. He named the glass Favrile (from the Old English word ‘fabrile’, meaning handcrafted). The new glass – patented by Tiffany – blew the art world away, and he won the grand prize at the 1900 Paris Exposition for his invention. The glass was made in vivid colours; distinguishing colours included Gold Lustre, Samian Red and Mazarin Blue.
Credit: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
One of the prizes in my Sunday Special giveaway, the Paris Bud Vase (shown below), was inspired by Tiffany’s early 20th-century designs, particularly the rich colours of the Favrile glass. For your chance to win this striking vase, simply subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of this page. The competition closes on 23rd August 2020, and five winners will be chosen at random from my list of subscribers.