Send me an E-mail
(Please, no questions
 about value.)

Instructions for sending photographs of your pieces with your question.

Which department store originated the concept of selling artistic home furnishings?

Liberty & Co.
                     To see the answer

Arts & Crafts:
From William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright

by Arnold Schwartzman

The author focuses on a British craftsmen, such as William Morris and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who turned their backs on the mass production of the Industrial Revolution to form a ‘Round Table’ in order to establish a means of returning to hand-crafted products.

                                  More Books


How Was It Made? Block Printing William Morris Wallpaper

This video recreates the painstaking reproduction of a William Morris wallpaper design from 1875, a process that can take up to 4 weeks, using 30 different blocks and 15 separate colors.

Click on the title to view.

And look for other videos in selected articles.

Have Bob speak
 on antiques to your group or organization.

More Information

Can't find what
 you're looking for?

Go to our Sitemap

Find out what's coming in the
2024 Spring Edition

of the

"Art Deco World"


Share pages of this ezine with your friends using the buttons provided with each article.

Download our
Decorative Periods and Styles Chart

Read our newest glossary:

Antique Furniture Terminology
 from A to Z

courtesy of AntiquesWorldUK

Videos have
come to

The Antiques

Expand your antiques experience.

Look for videos in various articles.

Just click on the
arrow to play.


Argyle Chair
Charles Rennie Macintosh

Sorting Out Early Stained Glass Lamps
by Bob Brooke


Between 1895 and 1915, a huge variety of mosaic glass lamps came out of New York and Chicago to satisfy a growing demand for stylish lighting designs. While Tiffany Studios set the industry standard, other companies produced excellent designs as well. So while Tiffany made all his lamp shades of stained glass, Tiffany Studios wasn’t the only company to make stained glass lamps.

Electricity, the new energy source that would soon sweep the country, demanded a new type of lamp, one that would shield the viewer from the harsh glare of the early incandescent bulbs and at the same time add Victorian beauty to a room. It was the mid-1890s and the Victorians weren’t ready just yet to give up their lavish designs, so Louis Comfort Tiffany worked with that and developed lamps in the avant garde Art Nouveau style that complemented the decor present in middle class and upper middle-class homes of the day.

Companies such as Duffner & Kimberly and Gorham made lamps of a quality that compared with those made by Tiffany Studios. They created styles that appealed more to the prevailing Victorian taste. Some companies, like Wilkinson, made high-quality bases, but took short cuts with their shades. Others, like Unique, focused on creating complex shades and paired them with simpler bases. Many copied Tiffany’s Art Nouveau designs and many copied each other which creates a challenge for collectors trying to identify their lamps.

So how do you tell the difference between authentic Tiffany lamps and those made by these other companies? Most of the time it’s difficult. Learning how to spot the best lamps could take years of study because many lamp manufacturers didn’t sign their pieces, and the differences are often subtle between a quality lamp from this period and a modern reproduction. You also have to keep an eye out for “made-up” lamps, composed of both old and new parts. But there are a few things you can look out for.

Tips for Authenticating Early Stained Glass Lamps
Look for hairline cracks in the glass. It isn’t unusual for hairline cracks to appear in the panes of old stained glass shades. This is the natural result of the glass expanding and contracting as it heats and cools when someone turns the lamp on and off. In fact, a lamp that doesn’t have any “stress” or “heat” cracks may be of more recent construction.

Pay attention to glass color. Look at the colors of the glass pieces. Are they subtle, gaudy, bright, or soft? Overall, the colors should match in tone and intensity. If the shade has a “Crayola crayon” look to it—with overly bright, gaudy, or clashing colors—it could be of more recent construction, or have had some panes replaced.

Pick up the base and feel the weight. Although the quality of workmanship and materials can vary greatly on these lamps, the best lamp bases are heavy and well-cast. Finer lamps will have cast brass or bronze finials and bronze bases.

Step back and gauge the overall design. The shade and base should not only fit together properly, but there should be an overall sense of balance between all the design elements, from the finial to the base plate. The shades should have some complex elements of design or thoughtful use of color. The overall design should be crisp and clean.

Lastly, talk to a reputable dealer or appraiser. A reputable dealer or appraiser who specializes in early 20th-century lamps will be familiar with these lamps and their characteristics and will be able to help you identify a lamp you own.

Antique Tiffany lamps remain the golden standard of mosaic glass lighting. However, don’t ignore well-designed, handcrafted, beautiful, and very collectable antique mosaic lamps from a wide variety of other manufacturers.

< Back to Collecting Archives                                               Next Article >

Antiques Q&A

Antiques and More on

The Antiques Almanac on Facebook

No antiques or collectibles
are sold on this site.

How to Recognize and Refinish Antiques for Pleasure and Profit

Book: How to Recognizing and Refinishing Antiques for Pleasure and Profit
Have you ever bought an antique or collectible that was less than perfect and needed some TLC? Bob's new book offers tips and step-by- step instructions for simple maintenance and restoration of common antiques.

Read an Excerpt

Auction News
Get up to the minute news of antiques auctions around the country and the world.

Also see
The Auction Directory

Antiques News
Read breaking news stories from the world of antiques and collectibles.

Art Exhibitions
Search for art exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world.

Home | About This Site | Antiques | Collectibles | Antique Tips | Book Shop | Antique Trivia | Antique Spotlight | Antiques News  Special Features | Caring for Your Collections | Collecting | Readers Ask | Antiques Glossaries | Resources | Contact
Copyright ©2007-2023 by Bob Brooke Communications
Site design and development by BBC Web Services