Sunday, May 21, 2017

28" Hollyhock

Louis Comfort Tiffany liked accuracy in the scale of flowers depicted on his shades. Consequently, the generous size of a large Tiffany Studios 28" cone-shaped shade is the perfect vehicle for featuring hollyhock flowers. We just completed this 28" Hollyhock shade.

Hollyhocks come in over 60 varieties, and their tall erect stalks blossom with flowers in a rainbow of colors. Because of their height and showy blooms, hollyhocks are best planted in home gardens as a background flower. In the Victorian language of flowers, hollyhocks represent fertility and ambition.

Large floral shades always take a lot of planning and digging through our glass options to execute successfully. To create this shade, we dug deep into our library of glass to find a dazzling variety of colors and textures to bring the shade to life. The green/blue sky glass was made by Schlitz Studios almost 30 years ago. The glass has a medium transparency that is enhanced by a delicate surface mottle that traps the light within a slight haze.

Flower colors for this shade represent the full spectrum found in nature. Red, pink, white, yellow, purple and peach tones coexist in harmony above deepening green foliage. Ring mottled, streaky, and rippled glasses were employed together to create a pleasing blend of colors and textures. A lush green rippled glass by Schlitz Studios was used for the lower border row to give the shade a visual anchor from which the flowers ascend.

Primarily used as chandelier fixtures, 28" cone shades such as this also make dramatic table or floor lamps. We created this Hollyhock shade as a showroom piece, and intended to hang it as a chandelier fixture. While waiting for an opportunity to hang the shade, we displayed it on the Perforated base. A client visiting our showroom liked the combination so much that this lamp will now be on display in their home as shown.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The New York Historical Society Tiffany Lamp Gallery

Last week, we visited the New York Historical Society to view the remodeled Tiffany Lamp Gallery. The gallery showcases 100 Tiffany lamps from the collection of Dr. Egon Neustadt which are now once again on permanent display in the newly designed two story setting.

Dr. Egon Neustadt and his wife purchased their first Tiffany lamp in1935 at a second hand shop in Greenwich Village for $12.50. This Daffodil lamp ignited a passion for collecting that would span five decades. Their collection eventually included over 300 examples of Tiffany lamps, as well as windows, sheet glass, and other decorative works by the studio. Hildegard Neustadt died in 1961 and Dr. Neustadt continued to expand the collection until his death in 1986.

The Neustadts acquired as many Tiffany lamps as possible, often purchasing multiple examples of shades of the same pattern, but in different color combinations. The couple collected at a time when there was no internet and no reference books to acquire information about Tiffany Studios, relying on dealers and their own expertise to guide them. In 1970 Dr. Neustadt published The Lamps of Tiffany which cataloged the collection. Even though the book has only ever had two printings, it is still considered an essential volume on Tiffany lamps due to the depth of the collection and the information provided on each piece.

In 1983, Dr. Neustadt displayed a significant portion of his Tiffany collection in an exhibition at the New York Historical Society. He was so delighted with the installation that he donated all the works on display to the NYHS shortly before his death. We toured the exhibition in the late 80's and were blown away by the quality and variety of the lamps on display. One of the unusual  features of that exhibition was that many of the 28" chandelier cones were displayed upside down on the ceiling, which made viewing the pieces difficult.

The newly redesigned gallery displays over 100 lamps, as well as windows, blown glass, mosaics, and pottery by Tiffany Studios. The two story space allows for close inspection of the each lamp, and many of the lamps on the first floor can be viewed from the second floor, giving the viewer a unique perspective to see the lamps. Studying the lamps from above is much easier than trying to view them upside down on the ceiling!

For more information on the New York Historical Society and the Neustadt collection, visit

Photos for this post by Bill Campbell and M. Brian Hartz Photography

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Century Studios Hours This Week

Century Studios will be closed Wednesday May 10 through Monday May 15. We will resume regular business hours on Tuesday May 16.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

16" Daffodil

Tiffany Studios created many lamps and windows featuring daffodils because these bright, sunny blooms were Louis C. Tiffany's favorite flower. At Century Studios, we offer eight different Tiffany Daffodil shade designs in sizes ranging from 14" to 28". The 16" Daffodil shade is one of two 16" shades we offer featuring these early springtime flowers.

In this shade, the flowers are unencumbered by the confines of horizontal border rows, giving the impression that you have stepped into a carefree garden with flowers gently moving in the breeze. For this shade, we chose a sunny yellow background glass that deepens to an amber/green mix on the lower portion of the shade. The fresh green leaves and stems provide a crisp contrast to the warm amber tones in the shade.

The shade is shown on the classically styled Greek Urn base. This lamp is currently available for purchase in our showroom.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Lamp of the Week: Mermaid w/Nautilus Shell

Mermaids are legendary aquatic half human, half fish creatures that have appeared in folklore and inspired artists of every civilization for thousands of years. The Mermaid w/Nautilus Shell is a unique Tiffany Studios lamp design. The cast bronze mermaid rises out of a churning sea carrying a lighted shell above her head. For this example, commissioned in 2006, we have created a shell that shifts in color from green at the center to off white at its opening.  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

18 Light Lily Lamp

At Century Studios, we create a full spectrum of Lily Lamps that include table lamps, floor lamps chandeliers, ceiling fixtures, and wall sconces. These unique lamps are created using a combination of cast bronze parts, hand bent tubing, and mouth blown lily shades. We recently completed an 18 Light Lily Table Lamp for a client in Paris, France.

Bronze parts for these unique lamps are created by the lost wax casting method. Using molds taken from original Tiffany examples, a wax part is molded and then finished by hand. The waxes are taken to our local bronze foundry where they are encased in a mold material which hardens and is then baked to melt the wax out. Molten bronze is then poured into the hot mold and, once it has cooled, the mold is broken away and the raw bronze casting is revealed. After more hand chasing (cleaning), the bronze parts are ready for drilling and tapping to be screwed together and assembled into a finished lamp.

For each lily stem, tubing is hand bent to a specific shape. The stems are positioned and attached to a plate in the configuration specific for each style of lily lamp. The individual parts of the lamp are then given a Tiffany verdigris patina and once assembled and wired, the completed lamps is ready for display.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Lamp of the Week: 22" Nasturtium

Nasturtium flowers are often referred to as the jester of the garden, a moniker that comes from the fact that the word nasturtium literally means "nose twister" or "nose tweaker". These brightly colored ornamental plants are edible, and the flowers and leaves will add a peppery taste to salads and stir fry. The generously proportioned turban shape of the 22" Nasturtium shade provides an expansive canvas for these trailing plants to dance across in cheerful abandon. Saucer shaped leaves co-mingle with a multitude of the distinctly shaped flowers. Commissioned by an East Coast client in 2012, this colorful example was created by skillfully blending together ring mottled, streaky, granite textured, and rippled glasses. The shade is shown on the appropriately named Bird Skeleton base.