It was recently discovered that Clara Driscoll, not Louis Comfort Tiffany, was the designer of many of the famous Tiffany leaded lamps. Driscoll was the director of the Tiffany Studios’ Women’s Glass Cutting Department, commonly referred to as the “Tiffany Girls,” in New York City. The Tiffany Girls were in charge of choosing the colors and type of glass used in many famous glass items. Before Driscoll’s arrival, the lamps had been static and geometric.
Driscoll proved to be a creative force behind Tiffany lamps. She directed, designed and crafted more than thirty lamps produced by the company. Among her works are the famous Wisteria, Dragonfly, Peony, and the Daffodil. Driscoll had studied design school in Cleveland before enrolling at New York’s Metropolitan Museum Art School. It was there that her talents were recognized by Tiffany Studios. She worked for the company for more than 20 years, leaving in 1909 when she re-married, as married women were not allowed to work in the studios. After the studio closed in the 1930s, the records were lost, which is why Driscoll’s work was mistakenly attributed to Louis Comfort Tiffany for so long. It was through the efforts of Rutgers professor Martin Eidelberg and curator Margaret k. Hofer that Driscoll’s involvement was brought to light.
Swag lamps are officially “in.” The most common definition of a swag lamp references a fabric lamp shade hung from a metal chain. The lamps shades, popular from the 1950s-1980s, come in all different colors and patterns and are frequently ornamented with a fringe, either of cloth or beads. Though the fabric shade swag lamps are most remembered, any hanging lamp is considered swag.
Tiffany hanging lamps are a stylish way to pay homage to the swag style. True to swag form, they are hanging, but can be further customized with colored pull chains and cords. The shape of tiffany hanging lamps mimics that of the traditional fabric shade without the worry of fraying fabric or fringe. There’s also no need to worry about fading with the vibrant stained glass panes of a tiffany style hanging lamp. This is an easy style trend to follow that even when the craze ends you’ll be left with a beautiful, quality lighting piece.
Not everyone feels comfortable letting their child have valuable decorative pieces in their room for fear of paint smears or breakage. In my experience, giving a child a small valuable piece to keep is a way of fostering responsibility. My mother gave me a set of porcelain figurines when I was a young girl. She explained that they were my responsibility to clean and care for. Those figurines are still in tip top shape and I keep them out on my coffee table.
For my own daughter, I chose to give her a small tiffany accent lamp. For a child, I would recommend an animal shaped lamp, such as a butterfly or parrot. The beautiful colors and exquisite craftsmanship compliment every room. The classic designs will grow with your child and are even appropriate for adult rooms. Tiffany accent lamp ranges in price from less than $50 to close to $200, so a parent can pick what price they are comfortable entrusting to the care of a child.