Louis Comfort Tiffany
The jewellery shop Tiffany & Co. has been founded by Carl Lewis Tiffany in 1837. We will talk about the famous Tiffany Glass Company that was founded by Carl’s son named Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) in 1885.
The elegant and colourful lamps that were manufactured in the ateliers of the Tiffany Glass Company should become famous and sought after all over the world shortly after their invention.
The design was a mixture of aestheticism of the 19th century and Art Nouveau. The lamp shades had a similar construction as the glass windows in churches. Coloured glass had to be cut accurately and put together to flowers, dragonflies or abstract designs. Finally, the pieces were soldered with copper strips.
Tiffany’s lamps required a special kind of glass for which the company held the patent.
Clara Driscoll. Surprise!
To the world it was clear that the designer of this lamps was Mr Tiffany himself. After his death in 1933 the company’s files were destroyed and only in 2005 researchers discovered letters with detailed descriptions of how to manufacture the famous Tiffany models “Peony”, “Dragonfly” and “Wisteria”.
Surprisingly, the writer of these letters was not Louis Comfort Tiffany but someone hitherto unknown to the rest of the world. The author was a designer by the name of Clara Driscoll (1861-1944). She completed her studies at the Design school in Cleveland (Ohio) and at the Metropolitan Museum Art School. Around 1888 she started working at Tiffany’s and stayed in the company for more than 20 years.
Not only did she have a key role in the design and development of Tiffany’s finest lamps but also she managed an entire group of women working as glass cutters. Remember, these lamps have always been very precious since they were handmade.
As it seems Clara created light but she and the glass ladies were never in the spot light.
A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls