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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Title: Compote, Flint With Phantom Lustre
Date: ca. 1921
Medium: Glass
Dimensions: Height: 5 inches (12.7 cm); Diameter: 6 inches (15.2 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Louis Comfort Tiffany through the courtesy of A. Douglas Nash
Object Number: 57.086
Label Text: BRIEF DESCRIPTION
This compote is made of pale blue-green transparent flint glass. Notice the lightly ribbed bowl and stem.

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 compote is made from flint glass. Flint glass is a term used for lead glass that came into use in the 17th century when English Glassmaker George Ravenscroft included calcined flint as a source for silica in his glass formula. In the 18th and 19th centuries, flint glass referred to decolorized glass that did not contain flint, but instead contained lead. Flint glass objects are recognized as highly reflective, resonant, and heavy.

Notice the slight green luster cast on the surface of the compote. Luster is a form of staining; this shiny metallic effect involves covering the surface of a vessel with metallic oxides that have been dissolved in acid and mixed with an oily medium. The vessel is then fired in a kiln at a temperature around 1150 degrees Fahrenheit, depositing a film upon the surface that, when cleaned, becomes shiny.

HOW WAS IT USED?
A compote is a long-stemmed dish typically used to hold fruit, nuts, or candy.

WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE THIS?
The design for this compote may have been derived from a 16th century Venetian glass form called a tazza. Tazzas were stemmed, shallow cups used by the elite for drinking wine.

To see other Tiffany compotes in the Johnson Museum’s collection, search for object numbers 64.0849, 64.0873, 64.0898, 64.0902, 68.209, and 68.210 in the keyword search box.

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.