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Tiffany Studios New York "Zodiac Turtleback" Desk Lamp


In this Tiffany Studios New York "Zodiac" desk lamp, a darkly patinated bronze base is set against two extra large, dichroic blue-ish green "Turtleback" tiles. The head of this unique table lamp swivels, revealing one beautifully heavy, and yet iridescent and light, "Turtleback" tile in the front, paired with its twin tile in the back. The bronze lamp base and frames of the two "Turtleback" tiles are decorated with the twelve signs of the zodiac, with the undulation and asymmetry of the bronze casing echoing the form of the "Turtleback" tile.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: L-19745
Artist: Tiffany Studios New York
Circa: 1905
Dimensions: 10" width, 6.5" depth, 15" height (full lamp with base)
Materials: Leaded glass, Bronze
Base Signed: "Tiffany Studios New York 541"
Literature: Similar lamp pictured in Tiffany Lamps and Metalware: An illustrated reference to over 2000 models, by Alastair Duncan, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors' Club, 1988, p. 106, plate 424

The interlaced strapwork motif that repeats itself throughout the lamp's zodiac design was inspired by Celtic and Norwegian Viking prototypes. To Louis Comfort Tiffany, the Celtic interlace motif evoked the richly-encrusted cover of an early medieval book. This allusion closely relates to the desk lamps place in an office—a light in a place of unfettered learning.