Gilded bronze with wire mesh glass shade
Gift of Jeanne and Irving Mathews
Louis Comfort Tiffany's lamps represent a wonderful balance of emerging technology and natural designs. Invention of the light bulb at the end of the 1800s spurred a flurry of interest in electric lighting. Tiffany soon took advantage of this new technology. Beginning in 1898, he authorized one of his most important designers, Clara Driscoll, to conceive ideas for his famous glass lampshades. Driscoll created recognizable renderings of flowers such as poppies, peonies, and wisteria, and drew inspiration for stylized patterns from butterflies, dragonflies, and peacocks.
Not only decorated with colorful natural motifs, the shades sometimes mimicked the natural shapes of the flowers. In the early days of electric lighting, users frequently complained about the harsh brightness of the light bulb. Tiffany's designs soften the light and create a more natural atmosphere. When lit, this Tiffany Poppy shade blossoms into easily recognizable and vibrant poppies.
Louis Tiffany (American, b.1848, d.1933)