Tiffany Studios produced Favrile Pottery for a few short years. The first designs were low, wide pieces with either plain glazes or elaborate decorative motifs initially intended to serve as the bases for early oil lamps.
This utilitarian production line evolved by 1904-05 to a limited series of Art Pottery vases. These rare vases were likely designed by the Tiffany Girls working in "Little Arcadia," Tiffany Studios' specialized Enamel & Pottery workshop, where the artists were encouraged to channel their creativity into capturing flora and fauna in clay.
This exceptional piece is an unusual standalone design that was produced with the sole intention of serving as an object of beauty.
A low dome of lily pads forms the rounded foot of the vase. A cluster of thin stems functions as the neck of the vase, while the curving petals of unfurling water lily blossoms form a wide shallow cup.
Three small frogs in playful poses are scattered around the base of the vase. These charming creatures stand in relief against the vertical ribbing formed by the stems of the water lilies, with two of the frogs arms pulling away from the body.
This naturalistic scene is accented by the use of Tiffany Studios' dramatic mossy green glaze. This example features a high degree of variegation, further highlighting the sculptural quality of the vase.
It is likely that the spirit of this piece was inspired by both Japanese antiques as well as French Art Nouveau ceramics collected by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The frog, like the dragonfly, was a symbolic animal in Japanese culture and representations of creatures in this style are typical of the works fervently sought by Tiffany and his contemporaries in the late 19th century. The glazing and modeling on this exceptional design can also be traced back to the influence of the ceramics on display at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris.
While we have been lucky to handle fine examples of Tiffany Favrile Pottery over the years, this piece is a superlative example of an exceedingly rare form.
When we published Tiffany Favrile Pottery and the Quest of Beauty in 2011, this model earned a place on the cover - albeit in a different glaze.
It is a rare and exciting opportunity to offer such an important Tiffany Favrile Pottery Vase to our friends and collectors.
Height: 7 inches (17.8 cm)
Diameter: 8 inches (20.3 cm)