Louis Comfort Tiffany embodied the artistic spirit of America in the years surrounding the turn of the 20th century. His career spanned more than fifty years, over which time he became a world-renowned spokesman for American design. Tiffany worked first as an artist, and then a designer of interiors, furniture and other objects, but it was his experiments with glass that led him to create some of the most remarkable achievements of the era. His firm, Tiffany Studios, produced leaded glass windows, lighting fixtures and glass vessels that all bear the imprint of Tiffany's desire for beauty achieved through color and light.
In all his efforts, Tiffany looked to nature as his primary inspiration. Glass vases might imitate the forms of blooming flowers or molten lava; a leaded glass window could evoke a mountain landscape. Lighting fixtures, too, could recall forms found in nature. The Lawrence collection features two leaded glass chandeliers and a floor lamp by Tiffany Studios made primarily from 'turtleback' tiles, large molded glass pieces with an irregular surface which recall a turtle's shell. Similar turtleback chandeliers were used by Tiffany in his country estate, Laurelton Hall.