Title: Paperweight, Crystal With Pond Lily Motif, Reactive Glass
Dimensions: 2 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches (6.4 x 11.4 cm)
Gift of Louis Comfort Tiffany through the courtesy of A. Douglas Nash
This is a Tiffany paperweight made from crystal glass with a water lily motif embedded in the center.
WHERE WAS IT MADE?
Tiffany glass was made at the Tiffany Glass Furnaces in Corona, located in Queens, New York.
WHO WAS THE ARTIST?
Louis Comfort Tiffany was the eldest son of Charles L. Tiffany, founder of Tiffany & Company, the New York jeweler. Tiffany was trained as a painter, studying with both George Inness and Samuel Coleman in New York and Leon Bailly in Paris. He eventually turned his attention to decorative arts and began experimenting with glass-making techniques in 1875. After success with stained glass windows and mosaics, Tiffany established the Tiffany Glass Company in 1885 and began devoting production to one-of-a-kind blown glass art objects. He soon became one of America’s most prolific designers, providing furniture, wallcoverings, textiles, jewelry and glass to some of society’s most important citizens.
HOW WAS IT MADE?
This paperweight is made from crystal. Crystal is a popular term for colorless lead glass, which has a high refractive index and is particularly brilliant. In the United Kingdom, glass described as crystal must contain a defined percentage of lead oxide.
There is a pond lily made of colored glass embedded within the paperweight. It was made by adding slices of glass canes to the surface of the original glass bubble, blowing it to the desired size, and dipping the whole into a pot of clear glass to give it a crystal coating.
HOW WAS IT USED?
A paperweight is a small heavy object designed to hold down papers. First made in Venice and France in the 1840s, glass paperweight production spread to other parts of Europe and the United States. Although they lost popularity in the early 1920s, their production was revived in the 1950s.
To see another Tiffany paperweight in the Johnson Museum’s collection, search for object number 57.089 in the keyword search box.
WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE THIS?
Tiffany believed that nature was the true source of artistic inspiration. He was fascinated by the colors found in flowers and plants. He tried to incorporate nature into his designs, often as realistically as possible, showing flowers and plants in various stages of bloom.
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.