Son of the owner of the Tiffany & Co. jewelry empire, Louis Comfort Tiffany pursued his own path in the world of decorative arts with his iconic stained glass designs on windows and lamps; he also created mosaics, interior design, ceramics, jewelry and a host of other objects. As a young man, L.C.Tiffany studied painting, and a large number of his works in oil have recently become part of the Nassau County Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Ultimately, L.C.Tiffany lived on Long Island.
His interest in glassmaking led him to create a methodology of his own to produce glass in a variety of colors and textures, including opalescent and favrile glass. One of the hallmarks of Tiffany’s style is combining a multiplicity of glass textures to mimic the painterly qualities of oil paint. He shaped discrete colored glass elements, separated by copper edging, to convey realistic images. His depiction of springtime flowers and allegorical figures in a jewel-like color palette is a perfect match to The Seasons theme. L.C.Tiffany items are still in vogue today. In its heyday, Tiffany’s factory employed over 300 artisans, including Clara Driscoll, one of his head designers, among the group of female artisans dubbed the “Tiffany Girls.”
Tiffany glass art can be found all over Long Island in churches, such as Roslyn’s Trinity Episcopal Church, St. Johns in Cold Spring Harbor, All Saints in Great Neck and the Sage Memorial Chapel in Far Rockaway. Up until not long ago, relics of Tiffany’s Long Island residence, Laurelton Hall (largely destroyed in a fire in 1957), were still standing on the former property near Oyster Bay. An original glaze tiled smoke stack remains, by the Laurel Hollow beach.
Did you know that Teddy Roosevelt and Louis Comfort Tiffany were Oyster Bay neighbors? Roosevelt resided minutes away from the property which is now the Nassau County Museum of Art at his beloved Sagamore Hill, and nearby was Tiffany’s estate, Laurelton Hall. The two did not get along.
Did you know that the women in Tiffany’s employ came up with the idea of making lamps in order to utilize glass elements left over from the windows?
Did you know that works done by L.C.Tiffany are often signed by name, or stamped “Tiffany Studios”, and are so distinguished from the objects produced by the retail store, “Tiffany & Co.” – though he did, at times, design for his family company while still separately marketing his own productions.