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Gourd Shade – Tiffany Lamp

Gourd Shade - Tiffany Lamp - - New-York Historical Society

Gourd Shade – Tiffany Lamp

This “Gourd Shade” is a Tiffany Lamp probably designed by Clara Driscoll and is one of only two in existence. For the Tiffany design studio designers, the color was more important than the correct form. In many of the flower designed Tiffany Lamps, the form came secondary to the color esthetic. In this example, texture and tone take precedence over botanical accuracy. The designer portrayed flowers together with fruit and gourds of different varieties, all into a single pattern. The root base of the lamp reflects the influence of Art Nouveau, and the mottled glass creatively represents the roughness of the gourd rind.

A Tiffany lamp is a type of lamp with a glass shade made of glass designed by Tiffany & Co and its design teams. Tiffany lamps are considered part of the Art Nouveau movement. Due to Tiffany’s dominant influence on the style, the term ‘Tiffany lamp’ or ‘Tiffany style lamp’ has often been used to refer to stained leaded glass lamps, even those not made by Louis Comfort Tiffany’s company.

Louis Comfort Tiffany

Louis Comfort Tiffany was a designer who worked in the decorative arts and is best known for his work in stained glass. He is the American artist most associated with the Art Nouveau. Tiffany designed stained glass windows and lamps, glass mosaics, blown glass, ceramics, jewelry, enamels, and metalwork. He was the first Design Director at his family company, Tiffany & Co., founded by his father.

Clara Driscoll

Clara Driscoll was head of the Tiffany Studios Women’s Glass Cutting Department, known as the “Tiffany Girls” in New York City. Using patterns created from the original designs, these women selected and cut the glass to be used in these beautiful lamps. Driscoll designed more than thirty Tiffany lamps produced by Tiffany Studios, yet almost nothing was known about Driscoll until recently. It is now believed that Clara Driscoll and the “Tiffany Girls” created many of the Tiffany lamps initially attributed to Louis Comfort Tiffany and his staff of male designers.

Tiffany Lamp

The Tiffany Studios Women’s Glass Cutting Department was called the “Tiffany Girls,” in New York City. They used the patterns created from Clara Driscoll’s original designs, to select and cut the glass to be used in the famous lamps. Tiffany lamps were created by using the copper foil method consisting of the following steps:

  • a pattern for the lamp is drawn out on sculptured pieces of hard cardboard
  • a number and a glass color is written on the cardboard pattern
  • the colored glass is laid over the design and traced
  • with the pattern traced onto the glass, the pieces are cut and ground to their correct shape
  • the glass pieces are cleaned so a copper foil can be applied to the edges
  • a copper foil solution allows the parts to adhere together
  • the lamp is then fully bonded, and the edges are soldered together on the inside
  • the lamp is then cleaned and polished, ready for inspection and display.

Gourd Shade – Tiffany Lamp

  • Title:                  Gourd Shade – Tiffany Lamp
  • Designer:         Probably Carla Driscoll
  • Year:                 1900 – 02
  • Museum:          New-York Historical Society

Designer – Clara Driscoll

  • Name:              Clara Driscoll
  • Born:               1861 – Tallmadge, Ohio
  • Died:                1944 (aged 83) – New York City, New York, US

Master Designer – Louis Comfort Tiffany

  • Name:           Louis Comfort Tiffany
  • Born:             1848 – New York City, New York, US
  • Died:             1933 (aged 84) – New York City, New York, US
  • Movements:  Art Nouveau and Aesthetic

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“Color is to the eye what music is to the ear.”
– Louis Comfort Tiffany


Photo Credit: JOM