Designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, American, 1848 - 1933. Made by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, Corona, New York, 1892 - 1902.

Made in Corona, New York, United States, North and Central America


Iridescent Favrile glass, wood, plaster, metal, and gilding

Height: 11 feet 2 inches (340.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

* Gallery 111, American Art, first floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with funds contributed by Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, Jaimie and David Field, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, the Robert Saligman Charitable Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. William T. Vogt, Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Fox, the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Fountain Society, Mrs. Eugene W. Jackson, Betty J. Marmon, and other donors,2001

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This glass mosaic column, one of six, recalls the character of ancient Pompeiian columns and Turkish textiles. It was first displayed in the New York City showrooms of Tiffany Studios (1900–1932) and later moved to Laurelton Hall, Louis Comfort Tiffany's home on Long Island. Originally trained as a painter, Tiffany developed interests in medieval glassmaking and the ancient art of mosaic. He believed that nature should be the primary source of design, and experimented with new methods of glass manufacture to yield a wide range of color and texture.

Additional information:
  • PublicationGifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    As early as 1899, Museum curator Edwin AtLee Barber began to acquire vases and other works of art by the contemporary glassmaker and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. The recent acquisition of this eleven-foot column covered with iridescent favrile glass mosaic has added a new and spectacular dimension to the Museum’s collection of works by this important artist, and enhances the scope of our holdings of important architectural elements.

    Tiffany, originally trained as a painter, began studying medieval glassmaking processes and techniques at an early age. He believed that nature should be the primary source of design inspiration and frequently experimented with new methods of glass manufacture to produce objects exhibiting a wide variety of color and texture.

    During the 1890s Tiffany developed an interest in the ancient art of mosaic and achieved unparalleled effects in his modern creations in this technique. This unusual glass mosaic column, one of a series of six, exemplifies his experimentation with and mastery of the medium. The character of these columns resonates with those found at Pompeii; they are covered with individual tesserae of iridescent favrile glass that gradually blend from bright peacock blue at the top to midnight blue and then iridescent black at the bottom. The design reflects a combination of popular motifs that looked to ancient and exotic sources for inspiration, such as the gilded diaper pattern and long cords with tassels, reminiscent of Turkish textiles.

    The columns were originally displayed in the showrooms of the Tiffany Studios in New York. They were eventually moved to Laurelton Hall, the artist’s residence in Long Island, New York, which was completed in 1904. The house burned down in 1957, but fortunately at that point the columns had been stored in the stable and survived the fire. Five of the columns, including this one, now belong to museums; the sixth is in a private collection. Martha C. Halpern, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary (2002), p. 80.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.