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  • Brenda Harrop

Glorious Peonies in Bloom Now and in 1893

Updated: Aug 10


To the basic ingredients of glass ~ sand, lime and soda ~ Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) added standard metallic oxides such as chromium, cobalt, silver, gold and uranium in complex and innovative combinations. Tiffany was in the vanguard of the American glass art movement of the 1890s, along with his then esteemed contemporary, John La Farge. Both were accomplished painters, essentially known as colorists. Their research and experimentation blossomed and developed into rich, glowing colors of glass which had varying degrees of translucency. Soon, the invention of "opalescent" glass emerged and remains a quintessential American phenomenon, one that today still distinguishes American leaded glass windows.


During the late 1800s and early 1900s, great fortunes were amassed in lumber, coal, steel and transportation, fortunes which allowed for opulent life styles and homes. This Peony leaded glass window is from the Darius Goff House, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, just north of Providence and is an extraordinary example of one such window commissioned for a Gilded Age residence. The varying states of peony blooms and extensive use of "confetti" glass, several layers of plating and asymmetrical composition illustrate the superior command of the medium of glass and artistry originating from Louis Comfort Tiffany's studios at this time.


Image: Tiffany Studios, A Peony Leaded Glass Window from the Darius Goff House, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, circa 1893.

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