Magnificent and technically breathtaking, this Laburnum glass lamp by Tiffany Studios secures Louis Comfort Tiffany's reputation as a master artist and innovator. Also know as golden chain, laburnum is generally regarded as one of the most beautiful flowering plants, and it is easy to see why Tiffany was so attracted to it. This Laburnum shade mimics the natural grace and beauty of the blooms, from its drooping golden petals to its trifoliate leaves. The blue background glass is nearly as spectacular as the floral blooms, and it shines with an intensity against the brilliant yellow petals. The shade displays a subtlety and refinement that is only seen in Tiffany's finest creations, and its multitude of small petals and leaves reveal the masterful craftsmanship of the famed firm.
While Tiffany Studios created a number of lamps over the course of its 55-year history, this Laburnum lampshade stands out for a number of reasons. First, its 24-inch diameter incorporates far more glass than the typical 22-inch shade; in fact, it is estimated that it required nearly 40% more glass than its 22-inch counterpart. Second, it terminates in a "natural", irregular edge, a design element that beautiful mimics the natural fall and flow of the laburnum flower. Third, the shade itself is undulating. While the vast majority of Tiffany shades are perfectly round, the Laburnum shade is the only one that was crafted with convex to concave curvatures. This undulation was remarkably difficult to achieve while still maintaining the dome shape of the shade, but the result is a piece that beautifully imitates the natural movement of the laburnum plant.
The lamp is further set apart by its base, which is itself an exceptional rarity. Taller than a table lamp, but smaller than a floor lamp, the base is known as an intermediary base. The size is quite rare; in this lamp, it offers the perfect counterbalance to the scale of the magnificent shade. A period pierced bronze "pigtail" finial completes the impressive fixture.
Tiffany lamps are one of the great icons of the American decorative arts, representing Louis Comfort Tiffany's seemingly limitless creativity and endless quest for beauty. Though he worked in a number of media throughout his life, glass was always the material that fascinated him the most, and his glass creations are undoubtedly his masterpieces. This Laburnum lamp represents the very heights of Tiffany Studios' creativity and artistry.
Similar shades are pictured in The Lamps of Tiffany, 1970, by E. Neustadt and Tiffany by Design: An In-Depth Look at Tiffany Lamps, 2006, by N. Gray.
Base marked "Tiffany Studios / New York / 577"
23 1/2" diameter x 43" high