Tiffany Studios produced lily lamps in many sizes from 3-light to 18-light, as well as custom-order. Over the course of decades, the models were tweaked with subtle improvements, like thicker tubing, bronze leaf switches, better patina, etc. Early on, Tiffany spent little time matching shades, as can be seen in period photographs in books like Tiffany at Auction by Alistair Duncan. Later examples have better matched shades, which today’s collectors prefer.
Most Tiffany lily lamps have gold iridescent shades, but the shapes vary. For the most part, they fall into four categories — straight, 10-point, wavy and ruffled.
Many of you may recall Minna Rosenblatt, a NYC dealer who had a shop on Madison Ave. For many years, she specialized in the works of Tiffany Studios, especially lamps.
She was a master salesperson, who could sell ice in the winter. She was the first person who I heard use the term “10-point” to describe a lily shape. The 10 points can easily be seen by looking into the mouth of the shade.
No need to look into the mouths of the other shapes to verify their shapes — they’re easy to tell. Besides the shape, other variations include color, iridescence, ribbing and size.
Occasionally I’m asked to find a replacement lily shade for a missing or damaged one. When matching them, I look first to the shape, then to the color, and then to the other characteristics. There are no perfect matches, only good ones. In today’s market, an individual lily shade is likely to cost $3-4,000. As most dealers are unwilling to sell individual lily shades, it’s best to buy good quality, complete lamps.
I’m taking a lot of time to add new items to my website. In the last few days I’ve added to the Gallé glass and Icart etchings listings. Please take a look, as every day I’m adding more. Click on this link chasenantiques.com.
Please send me your suggestions or questions about art glass, lamps, Louis Icart, shows, auctions, etc. If it’s interesting, I’ll answer your question in a future blog.