The 18″ Flowering Lotus lamp is an astonishingly complex Tiffany lamp design. The integrated shade and base begins with a wide cluster of bronze lily pads which rests firmly on the table. Ten individual flower stems ascend from the pads, making their way up inside the shade, each ending in a light socket. The upward thrust of the bronze stems is picked up and transformed into glass on the shade. Each glass stem splits and follows the path indicated by the base as they cascade downwards from the top of the shade. These delicate glass stems end in a glorious explosion of blossoms.
With almost 1800 individual pieces of glass within the confines of a relatively small shade, this piece must be meticulously hand crafted and assembled. For comparison, the 28″ Magnolia shade has 1260 pieces of glass. The pattern for this shade will drive the glass artist to distraction if order and method is not employed throughout every stage of the layout and construction. The hand rolled art glass used to create the shade is approximately 1/8″ thick, and many of the stem pieces towards the top of the shade end in slivers that are much narrower than the thickness of the glass.
The colors for this example were carefully blended beginning with sparkling rippled glass used for the water portions of the shade. The rippled glass has transparent tones of blue, yellow, and green mixed into a lightly colored base glass of red/purple/clear. The pink and white flowers are tinged with subtle shades of blue, yellow, purple, red, and green, adding depth to the color pallet of the shade. The stems reflect all the different tones of glass found within the shade. The result is a blended color scheme where each tone reflects and balances with one another.
Once the painstaking process of layout was completed, each piece was hand wrapped in copper foil. The foiled pieces are shown being transferred onto the form in preparation for soldering. The shade was extensively reinforced with copper wires soldered along the lead lines on the interior of the shade. A half round copper wire was also added to the irregular lower edge of the shade, providing additional strength for the shade.
Using molds taken from an original Tiffany example, we created the cast bronze Pond Lily base for this shade. Because of the depth of the shade, there are ten lights positioned at two levels. When illuminated, the upper and lower scattering of lights within the shade provide more sparkle than a single row of lights would achieve.
Tiffany designed this shade with air vents in the glass at the top. This is a necessary engineering feature that lets the heat generated by the light bulbs to flow out of the shade. Without this venting, the heat from the lights would build up and potentially weaken the leading at the top of the shade.
The Flowering Lotus is one of Tiffany Studios’ masterpiece lamp designs. This spectacular lamp was commissioned by a California client.