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Tiffany Studios New York "Peacock" Table Lamp

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This Tiffany Studios New York "Peacock" leaded glass and bronze table lamp features a selection of brilliantly-colored peacock feathers against a rich galaxy of multi-toned glass to create the pattern of the shade, with the quills of the feathers prominently visible and sixteen peacock eyes arranged in two staggered rows. The feathers are created in a dizzying array of blue and green sitting within oval spheres of gold/orange color, all on a blue, purple, and green background. The glass types range from streaky to confetti giving an dynamic sense of movement, depth, and the illusion of iridescence. The shade sits atop an exceptionally rare "Gingko Berry" base.
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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: L-21454
Artist: Tiffany Studios New York
Country: United States
Circa: 1900
Dimensions: 16" diameter, 21" height
Materials: Leaded Glass, Bronze
Shade Signed: Tiffany Studios New York
Base Signed: Tiffany Studios New York 10929
Literature: Tiffany Lamps and Metalware: An illustrated reference to over 2000 models, by Alastair Duncan, Woodbridge: Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1988. Shade pictured on: p. 79, plate 308, Base pictured on: p. 77, plate 296.

For Tiffany, the peacock was the living incarnation of iridescence in the natural world. In a letter to Hugh Mckean, Tiffany’s granddaughter Helena de Kay recalled that Tiffany raised peacocks for consumption in his farm complex. Entranced with their beauty, Tiffany would bring the birds from the farm to wander the grounds of Laurelton Hall. As part of a spring flower-viewing party, a sixty-six-year-old Tiffany threw his now-fabled “Peacock Feast.” The guest list included notable artists, architects, sculptors, and literati who would laud the soirée for years to come. The theme of the party is ascribed to the legend of Juno and Argus from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. According to legend, Juno kidnaps Jupiter’s lover Io, and sets her hundred-eyed giant Argus to the task of guarding her. In vengeance, Jupiter dispatched Mercury, the messenger of the gods to behead Argus. Upon seeing his lifeless body, Juno decorated the plumage of the peacock with Argus’ eyes. For the feast, peacocks from Tiffany’s farms were flayed, roasted, and redressed in their gorgeous plumage. Tiffany based the format of the peacock feast on medieval Christmas tradition. Towards the end of the feast, the peacock was brought ceremoniously with music to the end of the table. The train of ladies ordered from highest to lowest rank would march to the master of the feast. Subsequently, the champion of the day’s tournament would carve the fowl and demonstrate his swordsmanship by apportioning equal servings to every guest. At the end of the carving, the knight would place his hand upon the bird’s plumage and swear that he would be the first to plant his standard upon the walls of a besieged city, the first to strike a blow against the enemy and defend the honor of his lady. The lady of the highest rank, Juno, was played by Tiffany’s family friend Phyllis de Kay, followed by a train of Tiffany’s grandchildren carrying salvers of roast peacocks, sucking pigs, ducklings, frog legs and turtles. At the end of the meal, a separate group of children bearing Tiffany lamps and rose petals led the 150 guests to the terraced garden for coffee and conversation.
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