ARTISTS / Tiffany, Louis Comfort
The firm Tiffany & Young was founded in New York on 21 September 1837 by Charles Louis Tiffany and his partner John B. Young (1802-52) as a small fancy goods and stationery store. Tiffany proved to be a gifted entrepreneur with an impeccable sense of style; he catered to newly rich clients unsure of their tastes by offering rare and exotic imported goods, and the business thrived. In 1841, with a third partner, John L. Ellis, the company added fine European silver, porcelain, crystal glassware, personal and desk-top accessories and later jewellery, Swiss watches and bronze statuary to its stock. As a champion of American craftsmanship and materials, Tiffany established his own jewellery-making workshop in 1848 and subsequently became one of the greatest merchant-jewellers in the USA.
In 1851 Tiffany brought the silver manufacturer John C. Moore into the firm, and under Moore's direction the company rose to dominate the domestic silver market. By 1853 the firm was known as Tiffany & Co. In 1850 Tiffany opened a branch in Paris; at the Expositions Universelles of 1867 and 1878 in Paris the firm was awarded medals, the first to be given to an American silver-maker. Moore's son, the silver designer Edward Chandler Moore (1827-91), also joined the company; in 1871 he created the celebrated 'Audubon' flatware, with its modelled and cast design of birds, which continued to be produced during the 1990s.
By 1900 Tiffany & Co. included among its clients 23 royal families, including that of Queen Victoria, as well as celebrities, millionaires and successive US presidents. Louis Comfort Tiffany inherited the business on the death of his father in 1902.
Louis C. Tiffany had studied to be a landscape painter. His earliest professional success, however, was as an interior decorator with the short-lived decorating firm Louis C. Tiffany and Company, established in New York City in 1880, which specialized in furniture. Tiffany consolidated his interest in decoration with his partnership in Louis C. Tiffany and Company, Associated Artists in 1881. (4) After his separation from the firm in 1883, Tiffany directed an expanding business that encompassed interior decoration, glass, ceramics, enamels, metalwork, textiles, stonework, jewelry, and above all the manufacture of the opalescent glass that has since become legendary. Tiffany's quest for beauty and his high standards of craftsmanship and materials led him to create the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company in Corona, New York, succeeded by Tiffany Studios and Tiffany Furnaces."
J. Loring: Tiffany's 150 Years (New York, 1987)
N. Potter and D. Jackson: Tiffany Glassware (New York, 1988)
G. Mirabella: Tiffany & Co. (London, 1997); N. Gray, Magazine Antiques, Jan, 2005"
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