Happy Birthday, Tiffany!

Louis Comfort Tiffany was born in New York City to Charles Lewis Tiffany and Harriet Olivia Avery Young.  (He died in 1933).  He attended Flushing Boarding School in New York City.

The Civil war starts in April of 1861 and in 1863, Tiffany attended the Pennsylvania Military Academy, in West Chester, Pennsylvania.  It later became the West Chester Military Academy and then the Villa Maria Academy, a Catholic school.  Tiffany then went on to Eagleswood Military Academy in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.  In July of 1864 Tiffany wins an award for proficiency in drawing while at Eagleswood.  The war ends in 18 while Tiffany is at an encampment at Irvington-on-Hudson, New York. In 1866 he is listed as a member of the American Society of Painters in Water Colors.

Tiffany studies with a private teacher and was then admitted to the Antique School in the National Academy of Design in New York City in 1866.  In 1868 Tiffany travels to Europe and studies with painting and visits the French painter Belly who specializes in orientalist landscapes and Islamic genre scenes.  Two years later he has a still life exhibited at the Paris Salon and has an exhibit in the National Academy of Design, New York.  After this the exhibits become frequent of his water colors.

After extensive travel, Tiffany acquired the property known as Laurelton Hall.  Much of this building can be seen at the Morse Museum.

FINALLY—IN 1872 Tiffany becomes interested in glass.  The first experiments led to the invention of Tiffany’s Favrille Glass.

 

In 1876 Tiffany meets John La Farge who is has glass working studio in New York City.

In 1878 Tiffany opens a glass house which burns down as does the second one he opens.

Also, in 1878 he made his first church figure window.  It is at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Islip, New York.  It’s where abouts now is unknown.

He continues to work in water color and some oils.  He experiments with Wallpaper designs and photography.  In 1879 he designs and installed an abstract window in one of his own residences.

On November 10, 1879 John La Farge applies for his first patent on opalescent glass.

In 1880:

A figural window by Louis Comfort Tiffany is installed in the newly consecrated St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Islip, New York. “The windows are of stained glass, but the staining has not been accomplished with common paints. It is altogether a new and novel window, called the opalescent, the glass being stained by a chemical process and burned in. The windows were supplied by L.C. Tiffany, of New York, who also donated a trefoil window – three crosses in a circle resembling a three leafed clover – a perfect gem in itself. The cost of the windows was $2,500. Mr. [Richard Morris] Hunt [1827–95] takes great pride in the apsis [sic]. It is broad, deep and domed and circular in form with three pairs of triplet windows of opalescent glass. In the central window is an exquisite representation of St. Mark and his lion riding in the clouds. This is the only piece of painted glass in the building.”  (from the Morse Museum)

 

After several jobs decorating interiors, Tiffany starts devoting all his time to artistic house furnishings.

Then he submits patents for Glass tile, Mosaic and Colored Glass Windows.

 

“The first important result of [Louis Comfort Tiffany’s] labors” in stained glass is claimed by an untitled article to be in a church in Newark, New Jersey. “[The window] is in three compartments, with inscriptions on the lower panels.  The centre pieces of each compartment simulate Oriental rugs.  Of these, one is darker in its hues, to typify the past; the other is light, to represent the future, and the central is pulled aside, to signify the present.  Through the opening are seen water and lilies growing.  Over the lilies is a dove flying upward to represent the soul of the deceased, and the clouds in the sky, which stretches across the upper part of all three, are arranged in fanciful ladderlike shapes, to carry out further the idea of ascension.”  (morse museum)

In 1881 Tiffany buys two buildings for his glass decorating business in NY.  At this point he is getting commissions for people’s homes and churches.  He is winning awards at expositions.

In 1885 he designs the Flower, Fish and Fruit window which is now in the Baltimore Museum of Art.

 

In 1887 Clara Wolcott Driscoll starts work as a designer at Tiffany Glass Company.  Clara ends up doing many lamp designs.  The Arrowhead shade.  In 1904 Mrs. Driscoll is one of the highest salaried women in New York and ranks with the $10,000 a year workers.

In 1889 Harper’s magazine says that Tiffany has brought the art of making opalescent glass to the highest perfection it has yet attained.  He is referring to the piece “Christ Leaving the Praetorium” which is in Wisconsin at St. Paul’s Church. At this point they open an entire ecclesiastical department.

Tiffany’s first public exhibition of blown glass is in 1893.  In 1892 is the first exhibit of glassware and lamps with blown glass shades.

1894 is the first mention of copper-foiling at Tiffany Glass.

in 1896 this gentle is at Tiffany’s.  I am including it because my last name is also Parkhurst!

Henry L. Parkhurst (1867-1921) of the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company (1892-1900) teaches book cover designing at the New York School of Applied Design for Women.

 

In 1919 Louis Comfort Tiffany retires.  He creates a foundation.  In February of 1924 the lamp production ceases at Tiffany Studios.

January 17, 1933 at the age of 84, Louis Comfort Tiffany dies.

 

 

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