Louis Comfort Tiffany


Louis Comfort Tiffany c 1908.jpg

Louis Comfort Tiffany was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of American jeweler Tiffany and Company. He served as the design director for Tiffany from 1902-1918.

LCT began his career as a watercolorist. He achieved enough success to exhibit at the American Water Color Society and the National Academy in the 1870’s and at Paris’s Universal Exposition in 1878. [1] In 1879, he founded an interior design company, winning commissions to redecorate the homes of Mark Twain and Cornelius Vanderbilt, as well as the White House. [2]

Around this time, Tiffany also began experimenting with pottery and glass making. His work in these mediums brought him fame. In 1885, he opened the Tiffany Glass Company. Over the next two decades, Tiffany created objets d’art, lamps, and pottery featuring Favrile glass, a type of iridescent glass that he patented in 1894, and stained glass. His pieces won him wide acclaim, including a Grand Prize at Paris’s International Exhibition in 1900.

LCT Slideshow.jpg

As of 1902, when he began to work at Tiffany's jewelry design department, he had not yet tried his hand at jewelry. [3] When he began to create, his style was clear. LCT’s jewelry featured designs inspired by nature (e.g., dragonflies, vines, flowers), mythology (e.g., Medusa), and ancient history. Constructed in yellow gold, his pieces were often embellished with enamel and set with semi-precious gemstones like moonstone, tourmaline, and garnet. The jewels were well received and remain excellent examples of the Art Nouveau style. Julia Munson, a designer in the Arts and Crafts movement, was often one of his key collaborators.


  1. John Loring, Louis Comfort Tiffany at Tiffany and Company. 240.
  2. John Loring, Tiffany Jewels, 170.
  3. There is apparently a disagreement about when, exactly, Louis Comfort Tiffany became design director at Tiffany. Loring dates the position to 1902 when Charles Lewis Tiffany died and his son inherited the firm. However, other sources suggest that he became director in 1908 when Paulding Farnham resigned from the position because of artistic conflicts with LCT. (see Zapata).

Sources Consulted

  • Loring, John. Tiffany Jewels. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999, 168-179.
  • Loring, John. Louis Comfort Tiffany at Tiffany and Company. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002.

In this book, Loring claims to restore the “dissociation” between Tiffany and Company and the artistic endeavors of Louis Comfort Tiffany. When Loring took over in 1979, he claims that “there was not a single design of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s in the company’s collections, nor any mention of him in the company’s literature beyond the fact that he had been named its first design director in 1902 and that this jewelry, as well as his many decorative objects, had been retailed by Tiffany” (8). The book’s aim, therefore, is to emphasize LCT’s importance to Tiffany and Company’s history. Somewhat informative. Great photos.

  • Frelinghuysen, Alice Cooney. "Nature Studies: Louis Comfort Tiffany." In Bejewelled by Tiffany: 1837-1987, ed. Clare Phillips, 64-81. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
  • Zapata, Janet. "More About Paudling Farnham, Tiffany's Designer Extraordinaire." Antiques, March 1, 1999.

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