Tiffany Style Dragonfly Lamp

What is a Tiffany Lamp? – Louis Comfort Tiffany Facts

What is a Tiffany Lamp?  – I discuss the Key Facts known about Louis Comfort Tiffany Facts.

Follow this link to read an extremely detailed and fascinating blog of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Life.

In time I will re-write this block post to focus specifically on Louis Comfort Tiffany’s famous lamps.

I summarise who Louis Comfort Tiffany is, his relationship with nature and form, the difference between Tiffany Studios and Tiffany & Co

Authentic Tiffany Lamps are discussed including how are Tiffany Lamps made, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Favrile Glass and different styles of Tiffany Lamps.

I wrap up by discussing by contrast authentic Tiffany Lamps against one of the main manufactures of Tiffany Style Lamps.

Louis Comfort Tiffany
Wiki Commons - Louis Comfort Tiffany c.1908

What is a Tiffany Lamp?

I saw a Tiffany Lamp I liked in a local shop and it got me thinking about what is a Tiffany Lamp. I set out to learn more about these wonderful and colorful lighting fixtures.

A Tiffany Lamp is a distinct type of lamp made famous and by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his designers. The most commonly recognised style of light is the stained leaded glass lamp.

Louis Comfort Tiffany Facts

Louis Comfort Tiffany?

Louis Comfort Tiffany was the “name” behind Tiffany Lamps. In fact, so much so, the term “Tiffany Lamp” has become generic with this style of lamp. Modern re-productions or copies tend to be known as “Tiffany Style Lamps“.

Too many people in asking what the does the name Tiffany mean, it will invoke the art deco period, of which Tiffany was instrumental in promoting in America.

Born in New York to Charles Lewis Tiffany, the founder of Tiffany & Co, Louis Comfort Tiffany had a privileged upbringing. As a young adult he studied painting under George Innis and Samuel Colman before studying at the National Academy of Design.

Tiffany’s interest in art and design probably started before this however…

Louis Comfort Tiffany Inspiration

Tiffany Lamps were inspired by nature amongst the gardens of his country estates. Louis Comfort Tiffany carefully documented the forms and structure of flowers, vines and fauna, such as dragonfly’s and transferred them into his glasswork designs.

The Tiffany Studio in fact employed many female designers who worked semi-autonomously of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s direction. They received little recognition for their efforts until modern times.

Rutgers professor Martin Eidelburg identified in 2007 that Clara Driscoll was the master designer behind the most complex and important of the leaded glass Lamps produced by Tiffany Studios

Louis Comfort Tiffany’s designs were popularized during the Art Nouveau Movement that was popular both in Europe and the United States between 18910 and 1910.

Who owns Tiffany’s?

Tiffany & Company is a separate entity to The Tiffany Studio, trading since 1837, specialising in Jewellery. In a way Louis Comfort Tiffany’s legacy has been surpassed by his father as Tiffany Studios has long since been closed.

Charles Lewis Tiffany lamented in an account in The Brooklyn Eagle in 1888 that his son Louis Comfort Tiffany had “never developed any fondness or capacity for trade”

How are Tiffany Lamps made?

Authentic Lamps were handmade by the skilled craftspeople of the Tiffany Design Studio. The first lamp was made around 1895. The last lamps were made around 1930 when Tiffany Studios was closed.

The copper foil method was used to create a lamp. First a template would have been made with a sheet of cardboard. Each section of the pattern was given a number and color. The template was then traced onto the glass, and the glass cut to match. Around the edges of each piece the copper foil would be applied.

It is the copper foil that allows each colored glass piece to stick to each other. To finish and strengthen the joins the edges are soldered together.

Louis Comfort Tiffany Favrile Glass

Favrile was a term trademarked by Tiffany and was used to describe the production of the early lamps. The early lamps were more basic in form and utilized several types of glass to create leaded and blown shades. These do not have patterns as seen in later lamps.

How is Tiffany glass made?

Tiffany Lamps have been designed in for a wide range of lighting fixtures:

What different styles of lamp are there?


The most basic of the patterned lamps, the patterns tend to be in regular shapes such as squares or triangles. The lamps are made from poured glass rather than the blown method seen in the Favrile examples.

The more famous of the Geometric designs were made from large pieces of glass like the famous “turtleback tiles”. Other

less desired lamps were made with a larger number of smaller glass pieces.

Transition to flowers

The most intricate of Tiffany’s lamps are the later “Transition to Flowers” group.

These lamps play heavily on the forms of nature observed by Louis Comfort Tiffany’s lamps and feature designs using dragonflies, flowers, spiderwebs, butterflies, and peacock feathers

The latter lamps are further subdivided into the Flowered Cone and Globe lamps.

Flowered cone

Tiffany’s cone shades heavily feature floral patterns. The shades themselves are essentially straight sided and the rims are circular. They brought in a cost saving, when compared to the earlier leaded shapes, as they are easier and cheaper to make. As a result there are many authentic examples of this type of light. Cone shades do belong to the geometric group but are defined by their design rather than their form. Better cone-shaped shades often feature the dragonfly, which Tiffany was particularly pleased with. Globe and “irregular” lower shaped shades more often feature the Dragonfly design, which is very sought after, commanding high prices in modern times.

Flowered globe

These shades, wile flowered, are plainer. There construction is more complicated than cone shaped light shades. The key feature of a globe or dome design is that the shape helped the artists to “paint” a more realistic image of the floral and insect designs used. Ranging in size from twelve inches to twenty-eight inches in diameter, globe shades were the fixture of choice for large floor lamps.

Irregular lower border group

These shades take on a more naturalistic form, with flowing “serpentine” style rims. The uninterrupted metal rim of previous styles has been replaced with a curved linear lower border.  These are almost always globe shaped. The exception to the rule are the panel shades that used the grape trellis design.

The natural tapering of leaves, fruit and fauna instil in the shades an Art Nouveau impression.

Irregular upper and lower borders group

Upper and lower borders represent the final phase of development of Tiffany Lamps.

An openwork crown usurps the artificial straight edge of the apertures, simulating tree branches or shrubbery.

All finials have been eliminated, meaning heat and light are diffused throughout the crown.

Who is Dale Tiffany?

Dale Tiffany Inc. is a company set up in 1979 that quickly became a specialist in reproducing authentic Tiffany leaded lamp designs.  There is no other relationship to Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Dale became the first worldwide factory to standardize the production of stained glass.

Dale is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019.

What is a Dale Tiffany Lamp?

Dale Tiffany Inc. has developed a reputation for producing higher quality Tiffany Style Lamps. The lamps

are made utilizing the same copper foil technique as in the original leaded shades. This production method means that no two Dale lamps are exactly identical.

Who is Meyda Tiffany?

Meyda Tiffany is a family-run business established over 30 years ago. Initially a husband and wife team, they established themselves as one of America’s leading contemporary manufacturers of Tiffany lamps and decorative lighting


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *