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TIFFANY STUDIOS
TIFFANY STUDIOS
TIFFANY STUDIOS
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PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED AMERICAN COLLECTION
TIFFANY STUDIOS

EARLY AND RARE ‘TULIP TREE’ TABLE LAMP, CIRCA 1902

Details
TIFFANY STUDIOS
EARLY AND RARE ‘TULIP TREE’ TABLE LAMP, circa 1902
leaded glass, Favrile glass, patinated bronze
shade impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS NEW YORK
blown glass base engraved L.C.T.
base impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS NEW YORK with Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company monogram
25 in. (63.5 cm.) high, 18 ¼ in. (46.5 cm.) diameter of shade
Provenance
Sandra van den Broek, New York
Literature
A. Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, Suffolk, Woodbridge, 2019, p. 171, pl. 687 (for the later version of the 'Tulip Tree' shade model)
Post Lot Text
Louis Tiffany was enamored with all manner of plants, flowers, shrubs and trees and these frequently served as the inspiration for many of his artistic designs and creations. He was especially fond of flora native to North America, particularly the northern United States where he was raised and lived for most of his life, including the magnificent tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera).
A member of the Magnolia family, the tulip tree can be found from Vermont to northern Florida and as far west as Illinois. Eastern Native Americans used the wood for dugout canoes and it was also popular with nineteenth and twentieth century cabinet and furniture makers. Reaching a height of almost 200 feet, the tree features distinctive large four-lobed leaves and begins producing, at fifteen years, stunning flowers of six petals that surround spirally-arranged stamens and pistils.
The tulip tree was prominently displayed in Tiffany’s first major interior design commission that was revealed to the public in March 1880: the acclaimed stage curtain for the newly-built Madison Square Theater in New York City. Illustrating a Florida marsh scene replete with butterflies and bees, it depicted “a line of tangled weedy shore, where meadow grasses, tall wild lilies, bold looking black-eyed Susans, daisies, rushes, arrowheads grow, while above them stretch branches of tulip trees in flower.” Tiffany was also able to enjoy the tree while staying at Laurelton Hall, his Long Island country estate, where “the native woods of chestnut, tulip, oak, sassafras and cedar are thick in places with the wild azalea, the mountain laurel, the honeysuckle, the trailing arbutus and the yellow violet. They flourish.”
Tiffany Studios’ Tulip Tree shade is exceptionally rare, with fewer than ten identified examples. It was listed in the firm’s October 1, 1906 Price List as “1483. 18” TULIP TREE, flat $65,” however the model was apparently produced for less than four years after that. The shade of the lamp offered here is possibly one of the earliest versions of the model ever produced, as the glass incorporated is more complex in comparison to the other known examples. Furthermore, the uncommon fitted heat cap with a small spherical finial is also of a very early manufacture.
While of the same unusual flattened conical form typical of the model, this particular shade differs in that its motif is slightly less complicated than the later examples. There are two pairs of opposing large white-streaked yellow flowers, with their stamens and pistils, and smaller interspersed flowers shown from different perspectives and angles. They are situated among large yellow and brown-streaked green leaves pendant from reddish-brown branches. The flowers and foliage are against a wonderful dichroic and opalescent background that appears navy when unlit but beautifully transforms to rich tones of pink, green, aqua, violet and blue with transmitted light. The tall base, made around 1902, with a large iridescent gold Favrile glass tapered body, raised by five curvilinear patinated bronze legs, and three curved support arms that mimic the legs, ideally complements the shade.
- Paul Doros, former curator of glass at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA and author of The Art Glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany (New York, 2013)

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Daphné Riou
Daphné Riou Specialist, Head of Department

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