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Tiffany Studios New York "Crown" Floor Lamp

Louis Comfort Tiffany’s “Crown” floor lamp demonstrated his great love of both ecclesiastical art and Medieval Jewelry. As a frequent exhibitor at the Exposition Universelle, Tiffany was exposed to the oeuvre of Alphonse Mucha. Through his jewelry design for theater star Sarah Bernhardt, Mucha became a trailblazer of the Byzantine revival, and the style’s cabochon jewels and elaborate filigree spread to Tiffany. Accordingly, the crown lamp created by Tiffany exhibits a significant resemblance to the votive crown of Theodelinda, Queen of the Lombards from 570 to 628 AD. The votive crown was intended to hang from chains above an altar, featuring bands adorned with mother-of-pearl disks, alternating lozenges, and circular cabochons. In the “House of Aldus 1502,” a window by Tiffany Studios designer Frederick Wilson, a patrician woman in Renaissance garb dons a similar circlet design. The crown’s cap is composed of concentric bands of blue, ochre, and green glass and a turtle-back tile center, and M-shaped filigree mimicking the frieze decoration on the Roman tripod support. In 1870, Tiffany made several side trips from Naples, including a trip to the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum. The “crown” shade is set on a nineteenth-century copy of a Roman First-century sacrificial tripod from the Herculaneum’s Temple of Isis. As Isis was an Egyptian goddess, the tripod bears a great deal of Eastern motifs. The uppermost border is of a Bucranium festoon, a display of garlanded, sacrificial oxen, whose heads were displayed on the walls of temples in the cults of modern Turkey. The legs are decorated with winged sphinxes, papyrus capitals, lotus palmettes, honeysuckle arabesques, and the head of an Achaemenid king.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: L-21212
Artist: Tiffany Studios New York
Country: United States
Circa: 1898 - 1902
Dimensions: 23" diameter, 39" height
Materials: Leaded Glass, Bronze
Shade Signed: Tiffany Studios New York
Base Signed: Tiffany Decorating Company monogram and Tiffany Studios New York 5587
Exhibition History: Similar lamp in the collection of the New-York Historical Society. Gift of Dr. Egon Neustadt, N84.35.1.
Literature: The Lamps of Tiffany : Highlights of the Egon and Hildegard Neustadt Collection. 1993. Miami Fla. Memphis: Lowe Art Museum University of Miami ; Dixon Gallery and Gardens. p. 66

The form of the lamp is most closely related to that of the baptismal font. Among Tiffany’s first major artistic achievements was the chapel interior at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition complete with an elaborate mosaic and marble baptistery. Elaborate baptismal fonts were both a commonly commissioned item by Tiffany’s Episcopal and Catholic clients.