History Of Tiffany Stained Glass

Many people attribute the popular stained glass artwork style found in lamps, windows, panels, doors and other items to a man named Louis Comfort Tiffany who lived between 1848 and 1933. He was an American artist and designer whose name is synonymous with the Art Nouveau era. Tiffany was a painter and interior decorator. He used and promoted the copper foil method of stained glass construction that is so popular today. He is widely credited for the popularity of this method and it carries his name.

Louis Comfort Tiffany's company made lamps, windows, doors, jewelry, metalwork, ceramics, blown glass mosaics, etc. and he founded the Tiffany Glass Company in 1885 but it no longer exists. His father, Charles Lewis Tiffany, previously had started a well known jewelry store named Tiffany & Co. in 1837.

It may be very surprising to many, but stained glass artwork has a much longer and relatively unknown history.

Stained glass panels have been found that are nearly 2,000 years old. Single stained glass panels were discovered in the remains of ancient Pompeii. Pompeii was destroyed in a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius around 79 A.D. Many of the artifacts that were found in the ruins of Pompeii are in museums throughout the world especially in Naples, Italy.

Also, stained glass artwork like we are familiar with was also used in religious settings as early as 11 A.D. in Europe.

Thanks to Louis Comfort Tiffany for his outstanding quality and beautiful works of art and for refining and popularizing this ancient method of stained glass artwork that is world renowned today.
It has long been a common practice to match slag glass lamp shades, Tiffany type shades and others to various lamp bases that were not the original. Another common practice has been to place an unsigned shade on a signed Tiffany lamp base and pass the entire lamp off as a "Tiffany". Many if not most lamps and shades are referred to as Tiffany lamps simply because the style is similar to that of an original Tiffany lamp.

Many experts agree that most lamps called Tiffany were not actually made by Tiffany. This will continue to be an ongoing issue which all sellers and buyers should be aware. Knowledgeable collectors are already very aware of this. There are many lamps that are signed but that are not authentic. Identification of Tiffany leaded lamps is a subjective process that few people are qualified to do. You will find that a Tiffany lamp and shade with correct markings, attributes and documentation commands a very premium price as compared to any lamp that looks like or that is "attributed to Tiffany".

There are some rare authentic Tiffanies that have sold for over $ 2,000,000, so you may want to hold onto that old lamp your mother gave you !