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Tiffany Studios New York "Linenfold" Gilt Bronze Floor Lamp

The “Linenfold” floor lamp was composed of pressed light amber glass panels termed “Fabric Glass.” “Fabric Glass” was one of the first varieties of glass jewels produced by Tiffany Furnaces in Corona, Queens. No longer restricted by the small jewel press machines of his former offices, Tiffany was able to be more ambitious in scale and creative ideas. The pleated linen shade was a staple of the nineteenth century, able to outlast many whims and changes in taste. Their concept was the same as a trompe l'oeil painting, appearing as silk but surprising and delighting in its true glass material. The heat cap is emblazoned with a Greek key border, while the shade sits atop an elegant empire base. The empire style, with its inception during the Napoleonic era, was meant to combine a variety of Greco-Roman and Egyptian motifs to project the colonial reach of the French empire. The gilt floor lamp base is comprised of a variety of architectural ornament, from rocaille to acanthus and laurel rosettes. The lamp’s finial is a pinecone, a reference to the Fontana della Pigna, whereby an ancient Roman bronze pinecone was fitted into a fountain in the walls of the Vatican. The feet of the base is that of a goat, a staple of Regency and Rococo furniture.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: L-21038
Artist: Tiffany Studios New York
Country: United States
Circa: 1915
Dimensions: 14" diameter, 60" height
Materials: Favrile Glass, Gilt Bronze
Shade Signed: Tiffany Studios 936
Base Signed: Tiffany Studios New York 432
Literature: A similar lamp is pictured in: Tiffany Lamps and Metalware: An illustrated reference to over 2000 models, by Alastair Duncan, Woodbridge: Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1988, p. 211, plate 829.

Tiffany was a man preoccupied with Grecian decor. At only 22, Tiffany and the eminent Hudson River School painter Robert Swain Gifford made trips to the ruins of Pompeii. From his trip to Pompeii, two things would impress upon the young Tiffany. The first was the geometric complexity of Greco-Roman design. To the Greeks geometry was more than decoration, it was divinity itself The "Greek Key" pattern was modeled after the Minotaur's labyrinth, symbolizing cosmological infinity, and unity. The second was the vibrant color of antiquity. Opposed to the prevailing belief that the ancient world was devoid of color, the frescoes and mosaics of Pompeii revealed the vibrancy of ancient life. Tiffany's "Greek Key" chandelier reflects the color of Pompeii in its polychromatic palette. The "Greek key" pattern was a rectilinear abstraction of ancient wave patterns. The pattern's original Greek name, meandros, referred to the shifting, twisting path of the Meander River of Phyrigia, in the Mediterranean region of present-day Turkey. In the same year that this lamp was produced, Tiffany threw his famed Quest of Beauty pageant for his sixty-eighth birthday. The Greek pageant illustrated the journey of mankind from caveman to cultured artistic civilization. Tiffany spared no expense, spending $10,000 on lights, and hiring a cast of forty-two professional actors. Each tier of the stage was wrapped with "Greek key" patterns while the edge of the stage was wrapped with a wave pattern, in almost perfect mimesis of the lamp we see today.