Our antiques expert Allan Blackburn looks at some more collectables to brighten up your life...
I can’t wait for the clocks to go forward this weekend, banishing the last lingering early dusks of winter.
It’s remarkable how much this elongates the daylight, reducing the need for harsh bright lighting to illuminate dark rooms. It’s time to appreciate lamps, casting their pool of soft or coloured light through decorative shades.
And none more so than the Tiffany lamp. Perhaps provocatively, I’ve picked an item that the vast majority of us will never own. Luckily there are many beautiful reproductions ‘inspired by’ Tiffany which can be appreciated in their own right. This is rare in a profession where copies are usually dismissed as ‘not genuine’.
Louis Comfort Tiffany was a painter turned glassmaker who worked at several glasshouses in Brooklyn in the 1870s. Eventually opening his own glass factory in Corona, New York, his leadership and talent (plus his father's money and connections) ensured the business thrived.
Initially producing stained and painted glass windows, at its peak, his factory employed more than 300 artisans. Tiffany lamps, with their instantly recognizable stained glass patterned shades, are considered part of the Art Nouveau movement.
Each leaded Tiffany lamp, first commercially produced around 1895, was handmade by skilled craftsmen, not mass or machine produced. Recent research led by Professor Martin Eidelberg has revealed that the iconic Tiffany lamp design was not by Tiffany himself (as believed for over 100 years), but a previously unrecognized artist named Clara Driscoll. One of a team of talented women designers employed by Tiffany, her recognition is clearly long overdue.
Original Tiffany lamps from the 1890s to the 1930s, are valued from £4,000 to £1 million plus! The most expensive Tiffany lamp sold for $2.8 million at Christie's in 1997.
If you’re hoping to retire on a Tiffany find, prepare to be disappointed.
There are specialized Tiffany assessors, fielding hundreds of hopeful enquiries a week. On average, fewer than 5% are authentic Tiffany. However, there are many beautiful Tiffany inspired designs to bring a little glow to your home. This Tiffany style large lamp is on sale for £75, and the unusual tulip shaped uplighter is £35.
However you light up your home, enjoy the lighter evenings, as I intend to!