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Early and Rare 'Dragonfly and Waterflowers' Table Lamp, circa 1900

Early and Rare 'Dragonfly and Waterflowers' Table Lamp, circa 1900
leaded glass, mosaic Favrile glass, patinated bronze
17 3⁄4 in. (45.1 cm) high, 16 in. (40.6 cm) diameter of shade
oil canister impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS NEW YORK 23866
with custom Garden Museum Collection case
Lillian Nassau, New York
Barbra Streisand, Los Angeles, 1979
The Garden Museum Collection, Matsue, Japan, circa 1990
Allen Michaan, California, acquired from the above, 2012
Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, Lamps and Fixtures, New York, 1899, no. 67 (for a period photograph of the 'Dragonfly and Waterflowers' shade)
Grafton Galleries, Exhibition of L'Art Nouveau: S. Bing, Paris, London, 1899, p. 22 (for a description of this model which debuted in this exhibition)
W. R. Bradshaw, "Favrile Glass", The House Beautiful, vol. 7, no. 5, April 1900, p. 278 (for a reference to the 'Dragonfly and Waterflowers' design)
E. Neustadt, The Lamps of Tiffany, New York, 1970, p. 131 (for a period photograph of the base)
A. Duncan, Art Nouveau and Art Deco Lighting, London, 1978, pl. vii (base)
A. Duncan, Tiffany at Auction, New York, 1981, pp. 143, no. 380 (base), 256, no. 781 (for a period photograph of the 'Dragonfly and Waterflowers' shade)
A. Duncan and W. Feldstein, Jr., The Lamps of Tiffany Studios, New York, 1983, pp. 150-151 (shade)
A. Duncan, M. Eidelberg, and N. Harris, Masterworks of Louis Comfort Tiffany, London, 1989, p. 80 (for a period photograph of the 'Dragonfly and Waterflowers' shade)
A. Duncan, Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 1992, inside cover, p. 102 (base)
T. Horiuchi, ed., The World of Louis Comfort Tiffany: A Selection from The Anchorman Collection, Japan, 1994, p. 81 (present lot illustrated)
T. Horiuchi, A Selection of 300 Works from Louis C. Tiffany Garden Museum, Japan, 2001, p. 92, no. 104 (present lot illustrated)
A. Duncan, Louis C. Tiffany: The Garden Museum Collection, Suffolk, 2004, pp. 306-307 (present lot illustrated)
M. Eidelberg, A. Cooney Frelinghuysen, N. A. McClelland and L. Rachen, The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 2005, pp. 21 (for a period photograph of the 'Dragonfly and Waterflowers' shade), 186-188 (base)
M. Eidelberg, N. Gray and M. K. Hofer, A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls, London, 2007, inside cover (base) pp. 14, fig. 3 (for a period illustration of the base from New York Daily News, April 17, 1904), 15, fig. 4 (base), 42, 45, 60, 66 (for references pertaining to Clara Driscoll’s designs for the 'Dragonfly' lampshade model), 96-97 (base)
K. Conway and L. Parrott, Tiffany’s Glass Mosaics, Corning, New York, 2017, p. 197 (for an illustration of the model from New York Daily News, April 17, 1904)
A. Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, Suffolk, 2019, pp. 2 and 27, no. 54 (base), 47, no. 147 and 56, no. 181 (shade)
Further details
"I love things that stand the test of time, whether music, art or objects." Barbra Streisand

Last image: Drawing of “Dragonfly” Lamp, designed by Clara Driscoll, originally printed in the New York Daily News, April 17, 1904

Brought to you by

Daphné Riou
Daphné Riou SVP, Senior Specialist, Head of Americas

Lot Essay

The “Dragonfly” is one of Tiffany Studios' earliest recorded lampshade designs: designed by Clara Driscoll, it made its debut in Siegfried Bing’s 1899 exhibition LArt Nouveau at the Grafton Gallery in London, identified as a “Dragon-fly design,” presented on a blown glass base, and illustrated in Tiffany Studios 1899 catalogue Lamps and Fixtures. In April 1900, an article in The House Beautiful celebrated Tiffany’s latest development in combining metal with Favrile glass and their advancement in the manufacture of electrical fixtures: “Metal and glass are twin products of fire, and their joint use is very appropriate. A dragon-fly design is of richly colored leaded glass, with large dragon-flies and water-flowers.”
In 1904, a “Dragonfly and Waterflowers” shade appears illustrated on a mosaic glass base, described as “Mrs. Driscoll’s Paris Prize Dragon Fly Lamp.” Driscoll was the head of the Women's Glass Cutting Department at Tiffany Studios and worked there for seventeen years. In an article from April 17, 1904, she was highlighted in The New York Daily News as one of the few American women who earned $10,000 or more per year. She references the design in her letter: “This Dragonfly lamp is an idea that I had last summer and which Alice [Gouvy] worked out on a plaster mould. . . After she had made the drawing on this plaster mould I took it in hand and we worked and worked on it till the cost built up at such a rate that they had to mark it $250.00 when it was finished and everybody, even Mr. Belknap, thought it was impractical on account of the cost, but. . . then Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Belknap said—It is very original and makes talk, so perhaps it is not a bad investment. Then Mr. Tiffany got wind and came down and said it was the most interesting lamp in the place and then a rich woman bought it and then Mr. Tiffany said she couldn’t have it, he wanted it to go to London and have another one made for her and one to go to Paris.”
The “Dragonfly and Waterflowers” design was still in production in 1906, identified as “model 1467, 16 in. Dragonfly and water flowers design” and priced at $90 in the 1906 Price List. Less than five examples of the model are known to exist, including an example on a blown glass base in the collection of the Corning Museum of Glass, New York (inv. 2013.4.4).
This rare “Dragonfly and Waterflowers” shade on a spectacular “Dragonfly” mosaic base, is a stunning example of a significant turning point in the history of Tiffany Studios.

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