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'Peacock' Chandelier from Anita Baldwin's Residence, 'Anoakia', Arcadia, California, circa 1914

'Peacock' Chandelier from Anita Baldwin's Residence, 'Anoakia', Arcadia, California, circa 1914
Favrile glass, leaded glass, patinated bronze
52 in. (132 cm) drop, 24 3/4 in. (62.9 cm) diameter
Anita Baldwin, Arcadia, California, commissioned directly from the artist, circa 1914
Lowry McCaslin, California, circa 1940
Christie's, New York, 7 June 1996, lot 216
Acquired by Ann and Gordon Getty from the above
"Unique Among Homes of America's Rich", Los Angeles Times, September 21, 1913, p. II7 (for a discussion of 'Anoakia' and the Tiffany 'Peacock' lighting fixtures)
P. Garnett, "Stately Homes of California, II: Anoakia", Sunset, January 1914, pp. 145-158 (for a discussion of 'Anoakia')
G. Wharton James, “The Building Up of an Ideal California Ranch”, Out West, vol. 7, no. 5-6, May-June 1914, pp. 237-256 (for a discussion of 'Anoakia')
"Famous Santa Anita Rancho: Most Modern in California," Arcadia Journal, October 10, 1914 (for a discussion of 'Anoakia')
C. Hosler Coombs, "Anoakia - Where No Harm Shall Befall," Pasadena Daily News, January 1915 (for a discussion of 'Anoakia')
Tiffany Studios, Lighting Fixtures, New York, circa 1915, p. 8 (present lot illustrated)
Anoakia Inventory, April 7 - May 7, 1916, p. 4 (for an inventory list of 'Anoakia' including the present lot)
"Anoakia, Home of Anita Baldwin", Arcadia Tribune, Section A, August 3, 1934, p. 2 (for a discussion of 'Anoakia' and the 'Peacock' decorations)
Anoakia - Tiffany Catalog (Light Fixtures), n.d., p. 1 (the original catalog owned by Lowry McCaslin, owner of 'Anoakia' from 1940 to his death in 1995)
C. F. Shoop, "Fabulous Estate Converted Into School for Girls," Pasadena Star News, July 18, 1954 (present lot mentioned)
P. McAdam and S. Snider, Arcadia: Where Ranch and City Meet, Arcadia, 1981, pp. 81-93 (for a discussion of 'Anoakia' and Anita Baldwin)
P. James Holiday, American Arcadia: California and the Classical Tradition, Oxford, 2016, p. 204 (for a discussion of 'Anoakia' and the 'Peacock' decorations)
A. Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, New York, 2019, p. 337, no. 1362 (present lot illustrated)
Special notice
Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) at 5pm on the last day of the sale. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services. Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information. This sheet is available from the Bidder Registration staff, Purchaser Payments or the Packing Desk and will be sent with your invoice.
Further details
en suite with lots 57, 58 and 59

Brought to you by

Elizabeth Seigel
Elizabeth Seigel Vice President, Specialist, Head of Private and Iconic Collections

Lot Essay


Louis Tiffany was enamored with peacocks and the bird played an integral role in both his artistic and personal life. He was well aware of its significance in religious iconography, as early Christians believed that the bird’s ability to shed its feathers each year and then grow even more wondrous plumage was symbolic of Christ’s resurrection. As a serious collector of Asian art, Tiffany undoubtedly knew that the Japanese believed the peacock represented kindness, love and selflessness, while the Chinese thought the bird promoted peace and guarded the world.

Peacocks also appear on occasion in Tiffany’s personal life. He had vases filled with their feathers decorating his early residence in the Bella apartments. And peacocks, “which but a few days ago strutted about the beautiful lawns of the Tiffany place,” were the unfortunate center of attention at the famous 1914 fête held at his Long Island mansion, Laurelton Hall, where the birds, still with full plumage, were served as the main course at dinner.

Artistically, Tiffany was a renowned colorist and the bird’s brilliant iridescent plumage held an obvious appeal. He regularly incorporated peacocks into his works, beginning as early as 1881 with a glass mosaic panel for the newly-built Union League Club in New York City that featured the birds “treated in the Venetian manner.” Later, the centerpiece of Tiffany’s famous chapel created for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago was a superlative mosaic reredos comprised of two large peacocks. The peacock later appears in his jewelry, enamelware, leaded glass table lamps, blown glass objects and paintings. Tiffany’s adoration for peacocks was impressive, but it might have been surpassed by Anita May Baldwin (1876-1939), his client who commissioned the magnificent peacock chandelier and wall sconces offered here.

Baldwin was the younger daughter of Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin (1829-1909), an iconic figure in the history of California. Baldwin made his initial fortune at the age of 25 mining the Ophir Mines, part of the Comstock Lode, in Nevada and took his $8 million to San Francisco. There he invested in the stock market and luckily (hence the nickname) became one of the wealthiest men in the newly-formed state. One day in 1875, Baldwin went to inspect some mining property in San Bernardino county. He passed through the San Gabriel Valley and came upon Rancho Santa Anita, a 13,000-acre estate originally acquired by Hugo Reid through a Mexican land grant. Baldwin returned to the site shortly thereafter and bought 8,000 acres of the ranch for $200,000, most of the funds coming from a bankroll in an old tin can he always traveled with.

Baldwin, through purchasing and leasing, expanded the estate to 75,000 acres along the base of the Sierra Madre mountain range, about 13 miles northeast of Los Angeles in what is now the city of Arcadia. He greatly extended the ranch’s irrigation system and transformed the land. Fruit and nut trees of all varieties were planted, a vineyard and winery established, and broad swaths of flowers, especially the California poppy, dotted the landscape. Baldwin also became one of nation’s most successful breeders of thoroughbred horses and constructed the Santa Anita Park racetrack on part of his property. The noted 19th-century American historian, Hubert Howe Bancroft, wrote of Rancho Santa Anita in 1892: “It is a spot whose attractions, both natural and artificial, it would be difficult to exaggerate, and we know not whether most to admire its vast extent, the magnitude and diversity of its interests, the beauty of its situation, the skill with which its various operations have been planned, or the well-nigh perfect generalship with which they have been executed.”

“Lucky” Baldwin died in 1909 and left the estate to his two daughters, Clara and Anita, who took control of the property after a lengthy and acrimonious legal battle with their father’s common-law wife. Anita soon thereafter leased Clara’s share of the ranch and immediately began building on her father’s legacy. Baldwin, who reverted back to her maiden name after divorcing San Francisco lawyer Hull McClaughry in 1915, controlled every aspect of the numerous enterprises conducted on the property, such as superintending the farming operations, supervising the breeding of award-winning livestock, thoroughbred horses and dogs, and managing several oil wells.

Anita Baldwin’s superior business skills were equaled by her personality. Affectionately referred to as “Saint Ann” by staff and friends, her generosity, style and charm were known and admired throughout the state. A 1924 article stated: “In person, Anita Baldwin possesses the exquisite charm of the earlier generation….She is slender and graceful as a flower. She is uniformly gowned in Parisian clothes, wears jewelry that is exquisite and discreet, and resembles a young woman of thirty-three….Best of all are her heart and soul.” In 1912, Baldwin decided that the relatively modest Queen Anne-style house her father built in the late 1870s was inadequate and that a new mansion was required. She chose a 19-acre location on the property and named it “Anoakia,” a combination of her own name and the many stately oaks on the estate. She hired Arthur B. Benton as the architect, but just as Tiffany designed most of Laurelton Hall, Baldwin was responsible for much of the planning of the 50-room structure. There are additional similarities between Laurelton Hall and Anoakia: both were constructed of concrete, approached by a long, winding driveway flanked by trees and flowers, and both had enormous greenhouses.

Baldwin also loved birds and 20 aviaries were situated around the estate, with some of the parrots, macaws, pheasants, magpies, cranes and toucans free to roam the grounds. Most prominent of all were the 400 peacocks on the estate. “Lucky” Baldwin introduced the bird to California and Anita cherished them, acquiring the sobriquet “The Lady of the Peacocks.” A local glass engraver contributed panels etched with life-sized images of the bird for the front and back doors of the mansion, and the peacock motif was generously incorporated into the house’s interior decoration. Plumes of feathers were visible in all the rooms, the Batchelder tiles surrounding the fireplaces mimicked the colors of the bird’s plumage and, most significantly, Tiffany Studios was commissioned to create for the living room a peacock chandelier (lot 56) and eight matching wall sconces (six of which are offered here as lots 57-59). These lighting fixtures, possibly designed by Louis Tiffany himself, beautifully illustrate the extraordinary creativity and skills of the company. Tiffany’s foundry, enlarged and modernized in 1903, produced some of the finest bronze castings in the world, as is superbly exemplified by this suite of lots. The chandelier is comprised of six standing peacocks, their burnished and tinted bodies, feathers and slightly angled heads finely cast in exacting detail. Upper and lower bands of openings were created in the fanned tails and these are exquisitely filled with leaded glass in shades of green, iridescent yellow-gold and iridescent blue. The birds are separated by patinated bronze acorns and oak leaves, another theme frequently used throughout the mansion. These surmount a flattened hemispherical shade, its glass matching the color of the “eyes” and set in a radiating geometric pattern. The wall sconces feature peacocks identical to those in the chandelier. The sconces, however, include a two-branched lighting unit attached to a domed metal plate ringed with iridescent blue glass “jewels” and terminating with oak leaf-surrounded sockets supporting iridescent gold glass shades.

The lighting unit within the chandelier is extremely interesting. Anita Baldwin was an early advocate of electricity in the region and, shortly after its construction, Anoakia was noted as “the most thoroughly equipped, electrically, of all residences in the southwest.” She was interested in the latest advancements in the field and was aware of the National X-Ray Reflector Company. The firm, headquartered in Chicago and with offices in New York City, promoted at the time its innovative reflective lighting units that created “glareless, unobtrusive indirect illumination.” It is highly probable that Baldwin had Tiffany Studios purchase these special lighting units and install them in the chandelier.

Anoakia, sadly, was razed in 2000 to make way for the construction of a gated community. Thankfully, the McCaslin family, who purchased the mansion shortly after Anita Baldwin’s death in 1939, was able to save many of its treasures, including these unique and glorious peacock fixtures. They are magnificent reminders of a brilliant and talented woman, her celebrated estate, and the supreme artistry and craftsmanship of Louis Comfort Tiffany and his studios.

— 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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