Sunday, July 20, 2008

Breakfast With My Tiffany

Here it is again, another lovely quiet morning with my favorite coffee mug, xm radio on the computer tuned to "What's Playing At Starbucks" how cool is that new channel? I'm the only one awake and tuning into my blogging voice.
This morning I thought I'd bring you a bit of Tiffany history, inspired by this lovely twine box, which sits unceremoniously on my desk. We all have something in our house that we look at every day, in a "take for granted" sort of way, even though we highly treasure it and I don't mean your significant other:)
I never knew Tiffany made anything other than leaded glass lamps and jewelry, until this little gem found it's way to me. Tiffany Studios {1902-1032} Louis Comfort Tiffany's spin-off, glass making company from his father's company Tiffany, also made ornate desk sets. These sets not only included twine boxes, but were also comprised of candlesticks, inkstands, boxes, picture frames and even small, bronze paperweights shaped like animals. They produced more than 15 different patterns of desk sets and my pattern is called "Pine Needle". A set typically had at least nine pieces and sometimes as many as 20: blotter ends, inkstand, pen tray, paper rack, paper knife, rocker blotter, memo-pad holder, stamp box and calendar. Also available were other matching pieces like bookends, paperweights, lamps, thermometers, scales and even reading glasses.
Story has it that Louis Comfort Tiffany spent much time overseas and was in awe of the leaded glass windows found in the churches and it inspired him to start Tiffany Studios.
(Picture from Wikipedia) The Holy City (1905) – St. John's vision on the isle of Patmos. Having 58 panels, this window is said to be one of the largest made by the Tiffany Studios. It is located at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church (Baltimore, Maryland), which has eleven Tiffany windows.

I guess it was a natural progression for him to make desk sets? How I wish I could ask Mr. Tiffany himself this question. It makes sense because these sets were made in the early 1900's which coincided with the art nouveau movement. What better way to display your wealth back then - have a desk chock-full of Tiffany! I'm lucky to have just one piece of an entire collection and although I would like to collect the rest of the pieces one day, I'm afraid their rare existence has them priced out of my budget for now.

I was lucky enough to have received this piece from my late grandfather. I actually had many beautiful pieces passed down to me from my grandmother's antique collection, whom I never got to meet as she died 2 weeks before I was born. Growing up my grandfather would take me into his attic and we would rummage around the sea of antiques. My grandmother's dream was to open her own antique store until her untimely death. Over the years before his death at the young age of 92, my grandfather would ask me what I wanted to take home with me and one day we happened upon this fantastic stained glass box. My grandfather said "oh, I remember your grandmother used to keep this on her desk for her twine." This explains the little hole on the front. Doesn't this conjure up images in your mind from the early 1900's when people used to wrap their own parcels before they were sent? Long before the invention of tape!!! what if we still had to use string today?

Unfortunately my office does not get direct sunlight, where I could truly appreciate the stained glass window effect, Mr. Tiffany was recreating. Don't' you just love how the light brings this box to life?

Writing this post has given me new appreciation for my grandmother's Tiffany twine box and I think I will keep it here on my desk, just as she once did, where I will continue to enjoy it - than pass it onto the next generation. Thank you Lillian, I look forward to meeting you, but not for a long, long time.


Tamara said...

that box is gorgeous! I love tiffany. Maybe someday I'll own a piece!

erinberry said...

Lovely box! Nice that you've done research really appreciate it.


How wonderful! Your Grandmother would be so proud you've inherited her great taste and love of beautiful things :0)

High Desert Diva said...

This is so cool. I didn't know about the Tiffany desk sets...very informative post.

Lovely that it belonged to your grandmother!

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