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Louis Comfort Tiffany (February 18, 1848 - January 17, 1933) was an American artist and designer who worked in the decorative arts and is best known for his work in stained glass. Louis was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of the now renowned jewelry and silver firm Tiffany and Company of New York. Louis Comfort Tiffany chose to pursue his own artistic interests in lieu of joining the family business. Fabrication of his stained glass lamps began in 1885, with the majority of them being made between 1895 and 1920. It was not until 1899 that Tiffany publicly introduced the lamps for sale. These were his first lamps with bulbs shielded by colorful leaded glass shades. Tiffany wanted the glass itself to transmit texture and rich colors, and so developed and patented Favrile iridescent glass in 1894. The iridescent effect of the glass was obtained by mixing different colors of glass together while hot. The name Favrile comes from an old English word, fabrile, meaning handcrafted. By 1906 more that 125 shades could be ordered from Tiffany Studios. Tiffany glass is marked in a number of ways. Often it is found with scratched marks - the initials L.C.T. or the name spelled out; but the word FAVRILE and various numbers are the marks most often encountered. The lamps had shades of stained glass, which was leaded in various shapes or tiles. These pieces are often stamped TIFFANY STUDIOS. Sometimes small paper labels, often marked T. G. & D. Co., are pasted to pieces. However, not all pieces have a distinguishing mark.
Tiffany Studios disbanded 3 years after the death of Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1933. The cost of an original Tiffany lamp varies anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of the original Tiffany lamps are in private collection and in museums.