The vibrant plumage of the peacock was a repeated source of artistic inspiration for Louis Comfort Tiffany; the bird itself appears perched on a balustrade in leaded glass windows designed by Tiffany in the 1890s, while abstracted motifs based on its jewel-toned feathers adorn everything from blown Favrile Glass vases to enameled boxes, bronze mirrors and Tiffany Lamps like the spectacular example seen here.
This dramatic leaded glass Peacock Shade was likely designed under Tiffany’s direction by Clara Driscoll, head of the Women’s Glass Cutting Department at Tiffany Studios and the artist behind many of the most famous Tiffany Lamps. It is likely an early version of the Peacock Shades that were more widely produced by Tiffany Studios during the early 20th century. Few examples of this early variation of the design are known today.
In this design, the barbs of the peacock feathers have been translated into a stylized herringbone pattern in deep variegated purple shades with blue striations. Near the lower edge of the shade, the pattern is interrupted by the “eyes” of the peacock feathers, formed by cobalt blue glass encircled by vibrant green and orange. The patterned background inverts below the “eyes,” transitioning from purple to creamy opalescent blue tones.
The translucency and pigmentation of the glass used in this shade is typical of this early period of Tiffany’s production, when the majority of Tiffany Lamps were powered by oil or kerosene. The transparency of the glass would have allowed for the shade to emit more light.
This exceptional early shade is paired with an equally rare and elaborate early Tiffany lamp base which was originally intended to operate on oil or kerosene; the wide body was designed to accommodate an inset oil canister. The rounded bronze foot supports a large piece of blown Tiffany Favrile Glass in a bright green color which coordinates with the “eyes” of the peacock feathers in the shade. This piece of original Tiffany Favrile Glass is in exceptional condition, and is mounted with a bronze collar with gently scalloped lower edge and raised decoration formed by applied beadwork and twisted wirework. Though this lamp base has been converted for electricity, it retains its original oil canister with matching decoration.
A later version of the shade is part of the collection of the Museum of the American Arts & Crafts Movement in St. Petersburg, FL.
Diameter: 16 inches inches (40.6 cm)
Height: 20 inches (50.8 cm)