top of page

The Lamps of Tiffany Studios

Tiffany 4 Dome Lamp-2.jpg
Tiffany Pedant Lamp

Tiffany Lamps


Tiffany had a lifelong fascination with color and light that inspired many of his creations. Not surprisingly, his design repertoire expanded with the advent of electric lighting. In 1885, the Lyceum Theater in New York City became the first theater in the world to have electric footlights due to a collaboration between Tiffany and Thomas A. Edison. Tiffany also created electric sconces for the theater. Five years later, he created distinctive metalwork and blown-glass lighting for the Havemeyer home. In 1893, he displayed two spectacular hanging fixtures at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. These endeavors were precursors to his famous lamps.

By 1898, Tiffany was creating hanging and standing lamps and electroliers. His lamps with leaded glass shades similar to his stained glass windows became very popular. He usually paired these shades with his own bronze bases. He adapted nature motifs from his windows to his lampshades, including fruits, flowers, blossoming vines, and trees. The “Women’s Department” at the Tiffany firm was largely responsible for producing these lampshades, and many of them were designed by Clara Driscoll. The firm also made student and library lamps with blown shades, reading lamps with glass “turtleback” tiles, and simple shades with geometric designs.

Each shade was assembled on a solid wooden form on which was marked the arrangement of the individual pieces of glass. The palette and the different kinds of glass selected gave the shades their individuality. The artisan selected and joined hundreds of pieces into complex designs. It took him or her up to a week to complete this process. The pieces of glass were then held together using the copper foil method.

There were eventually hundreds of lampshade designs. Considered luxury goods, the lampshades ranged in price from $30 to $750. Despite some uniformity and a utilitarian purpose, the lampshades are still beautiful artistic objects.

Top: Four-Dome Lamp, Tiffany Studios

Bottom: Pendant Lamp, Tiffany Studios

035 -HDA0083  Tiffany 4 dome lamp.jpg
035 - HDA0083 Tiffany 4 Dome Lamp-4.jpg

Detail of Four-Dome Lamp while lit

Tiffany Studios

Detail of Four-Dome Lamp unlit

Tiffany Studios

037 -HDA0084  Tiffany Pendant Lamp - 3.jpg

Detail of Pendant Lamp 

Tiffany Studios

037 - HDA0084  Tiffany Pendant Lamp - 2.jpg

Detail of Pendant Lamp 

Tiffany Studios

bottom of page