Archive | Tiffany Lamps

Twelve Light Pond Lily Lamp

Tiffany Studios Twelve Light Pond Lily Lamp.

The original Tiffany Studios Twelve Light Pond Lily Lamp.

As you may be aware, Tiffany Studios produced much more than their standard stained glass lamp shades.  There were many different products but in keeping with lighting one beautiful design that was created was the twelve light Pond Lily lamp.  The Pond Lily lamp had a three dimensional patinated bronze base design of round leaves and buds.  The trumpet lily shades made of favrile glass seemed to have varying colors available, one with a prevalent gold hue and others being more colorful.  Produced in the early 1900s, this beautiful piece measured roughly 21 1/4″ in height and the base number was 382.  Some of these masterpieces are still  around with recent reported sales at auctions of $21,000 and $41,800.  Currently one of these lamps with the iridescent glass is being offered for sale at $65,000.

Tiffany Studios Twelve Light Pond Lily Table Lamp

The original Tiffany Studios Twelve Light Pond Lily Lamp.

There have been many replicas made of the pond lily lamp shades and of the complete lamp itself.  This Tiffany style lamp design is very popular and several companies are currently producing it or variations of it.  Two of these companies are Dale Tiffany and Meyda Tiffany.

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The Loss of the Lamps

Pieces of GlassHave you ever wondered what happened to all the original Tiffany lamps?  Why are they so few and rare?  Were there only a handful produced and sold?  The truth is some of these gorgeous lamps were forgotten or lost.  Many were broken by accident or time.  Still others wound their way through garage sales and junk shops to end up in the garbage.  One group of Tiffany lamps, however, met an even worse fate as a result of the Great Depression and the fickle nature of fashion.

Louis Comfort Tiffany and his company, Tiffany Studios, was a huge success during the early 1900s.  Sadly, Tiffany had lost his eminence as an artist and designer by the time he died in 1933.  His lamps, once considered great works of art, were valued only for their materials.  Three years later, Tiffany Studios was dismantled and its contents auctioned off.  Witnesses describe how salvage dealers took the lamps out of the Studio and bashed them against the sidewalk in an effort to remove the beautiful, but worthless, art glass.  Left over were the lamp bases and frames made of lead and bronze which were melted down and sold.

This history illustrates well how practicality and the dollar were able to destroy a treasure trove of art.  It wasn’t until the mid 1950s that the beauty of Tiffany lamps was rediscovered.  By the 1960s people began reproducing them.  Today there are countless copies and new designs but the most valuable of them all is the original Tiffany lamp.

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Tiffany Lamp Cleaning and Care

Cleaning a Tiffany LampYour investment in a Tiffany Lamp goes beyond the initial purchase. Once you have it home and in the perfect place you need to maintain it. Cleaning a Tiffany Lamp requires an attention to detail and some patience. The time and effort involved in cleaning it pays off in spades as the light, colors and beauty of the lamp is able to shine.

Most Tiffany Lamps are intricately detailed with many small panels and solder that will catch and hold dust and grime. Dusting the lamp often can help prevent buildup and save you time in the long run. What do you normally use to dust? Go with that first to keep the lamp dust free. If dust has built up then use a vacuum with brush attachment, this can help dislodge some of the dust without rubbing it into any cracks or crevices in the lamp.

When your lamp needs more than dusting it’s time to unplug the lamp and get ready to do some cleaning. Tiffany Lamps and Tiffany Style Lamps are made of a variety of materials and they have different cleaning considerations. If your lamp is made of art glass, jadestone or opaque stained glass use a soft cloth with a lemon oil based cleaner or furniture polish and wipe the surfaces gently. This method also works on most of the metal lamp bases as well as fixture frames.

For lamp shades of transparent or beveled glass you can use water or a standard household glass cleaner. With Lithophane porcelain lamps use warm soapy water using a mild detergent or soap. On non-colored areas that have hard to clean stains you may use a scouring powder. Use the dusting methods or a soft damp cloth for cleaning lamp shades that are made of fabric or mica. On lamps or fixtures in areas that will collect grease, such as the kitchen, some recommend Mr. Clean Top Job®. After cleaning with Mr. Clean be sure to reapply any lemon oil as required.

In general it is best to stay away from aggressive, corrosive or abrasive cleaners as this can damage the glass and solder. Watch out for products with ammonia as it can cause the solder to oxidize. If you have a lamp with oxidized solder then use a light coating of lemon oil to clean it and help prevent future tarnishing and oxidization.

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The Art and Beauty of Tiffany Lamps

Pendant Tiffany Lamp - Laburnum Pattern

Pendant Tiffany Lamp - Laburnum Pattern

Tiffany lamps were created by decorator and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. They were produced by his company, Tiffany Studios, from the 1890’s until the 1920’s. They featured colorful glass panels held together by metal and were centered around themes in nature. The lamps were fashionable with high society members and became a symbol of opulence. Eventually they fell out of favor and Tiffany Studios went bankrupt, but in the 1950’s Tiffany’s art enjoyed a rediscovery of sorts. Today Tiffany reproductions and Tiffany style lamps have become popular once again.

The Tiffany lamp was developed as a result of Louis Tiffany’s study of lighting and color. He wanted to bring the beauty of stained glass windows into the average home. His lamps were made primarily from leaded glass with a bronze base. Occasionally a base would be formed from glass or glass mosaic. The theme of the lamp was extended from the shade through to the base making the entire product a work of art. While the Tiffany lamp is usually identified with the traditional table lamp, there are also Tiffany floor lamps, pendant lamps, Tiffany chandeliers, lanterns and sconces.

Tiffany had an affinity for nature and spent much of his time sketching the gardens of his home. As a result, the lamps Tiffany created were filled with nature-inspired designs such as flowers, trees, fruits, insects and fish. Some of the most famous Tiffany designs include the dragonfly, magnolia, cobweb and lily lamps.

Today a true Tiffany lamp is considered a collector’s item and most are housed in museums and private collections. They can fetch from the thousands to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. For the average consumer, there are many affordable Tiffany style lamps on the market. There are reproductions of the original Tiffany’s and some new creations. There are cheap alternatives that use plastic shades and resin bases or more expensive versions that follow traditional Tiffany glass and bronze construction. Regardless of budget or taste, there is a beautiful, colorful, inspirational lamp out there for everybody.

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