While Tiffany was an international success before his first lamp was even made, his signature style of lighting extended his popularity across America from the 1890s to this day. As described in a 1904 catalogue, Tiffany’s richly colorful leaded-glass lamp shades produced “the effect found in our floral and geometrical windows.”
One of more than thirty-four objects on view include a new acquisition to the Morse collection: a workbench collected by John Dikeman (1882–1967). Dikeman was the head of the Tiffany Studios lamp department until it closed in the 1930s. His workbench and lamp form help illustrate the process used in the creation of a lamp and offer insight into the fabrication of the complex lamps produced in America. Alongside Tiffany’s works will be designs and examples by other decorating firms from the time when the rapid adoption of electricity was fueling innovations in the art of lighting.
More highlights of the refreshed exhibition include treasured objects, such as the magnificent wistaria library lamp, c. 1901, designed by Clara Driscoll (1861–1944), the head of the Women’s Glass Cutting Department at Tiffany Studios. The shade’s conventionalized floral forms and naturalistic coloration demonstrate the influence of Impressionism and Japonesque aesthetics that were popular at the time. More jewels from the Museum’s collection on view include the Greek Key- and Gentian-design lampshade sample panel that offers even more insight into the lamp production process at Tiffany Studios. Workers would have used sample panels to select just the right piece of glass for lampshade patterns, an essential step to producing lamps.