Dating from around 1900, when Louis Comfort Tiffany's designers were beginning to design leaded glass lamp shades, this rare early Tiffany Lamp features one of only three known examples of the Elaborate Peony shade.
In this shade, a series of double peonies articulated in variegated shades of light pink and white stand out against a background of blue glass. The peony blossoms are formed by petite hand-cut pieces of streaky glass representing the many layers of tiny petals of the flower, which radiate out from the central stamen formed by yellow and orange glass. The shade curves inward at the top, with an irregular rim formed by the edges of the flower's petals. A series of unopened and unfurling buds along the lower edge of the shade complete the scene.
The torchière shape of this shade was likely derived from pre-existing blown Favrile Glass shades which were being produced by Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company in the mid- to late-1890s; blown glass shades of similar form were illustrated in catalogues distributed by the company in 1898.
This Elaborate Peony shade is paired with a patinated bronze Tobacco Leaf base, an early Tiffany lamp base design which was originally intended to run on oil fuel. This example was converted for electricity.
The second known example of the Elaborate Peony Lamp is in the permanent collection of the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass (accession no. N.86.IL.01); the third is in a private collection.
Height: 15 inches (26.7 cm)
Diameter: 10 ½ inches (26.7 cm)
Martin Eidelberg, Nina Gray, and Margaret K. Hofer, A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls, New York, 2007, pp. 43, fig. 15 and 45