Alice Karle Appraisal

Fine & Decorative Art

Tiffany Moorish Chandelier

Tiffany Chandelier
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Tiffany Moorish Chandelier

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Tiffany Moorish Chandelier of bronze with Favrile glass shades. Circa 1900-1910. Frame unmarked, shades etched LCT Favrile: 36.5″ x 15″, Shades: 5″ x 3.75″

A very nice lady called one day saying she thought she had a Tiffany chandelier. I explained that most of the pieces clients think are Tiffany aren’t, and that there would be a minimum charge to look at the chandelier, whether it turned out to be a Tiffany chandelier or not. She explained she just needed to know.

We arrived, expecting to take one quick look and deliver the bad news. Hanging high in her entry way was a fixture consisting of balls and chains fitted with ugly white shades you might find in a big box store.

Definitely not your typical picture of a Tiffany chandelier. However the balls and chains were bronze, and the nice owner said something like: “Do you want to see the box of old shades? My children play catch in the house, so I took off the original shades and boxed them.”

The glass shades had the correct Tiffany Favrile mark, and even more importantly, the glass showed all of the properties of Tiffany Favrile glass, most significantly in the iridescent colors that were strong and ingrained in the glass.

The chandelier wasn’t marked by a maker, but was bronze, the shades were correct, and the top gallery looked like an Orientalist design associated with Tiffany. However, the overall design was definitely not your typical image of a Tiffany fixture. Photographs and further research revealed the truth, that the client’s chandelier was by Tiffany, a rare Tiffany Moorish Chandelier created for a brief period between 1900‑1910. The Tiffany Moorish Chandelier was a design concept growing out of the West’s fascination with the Middle East. The quality of light was appropriate for the lower level of light used in American homes in the early 20th Century.

I was telling the story over breakfast to a good friend who runs a wonderful auction house in New York City. He and his wife were visiting us, and he kept shaking his head and nudging his wife, saying “it’s not,” and again “it’s not.” Finally, by the time I described the balls and chains, and the Favrile shades, he shook his head and declared, as surprised as I had been: “It is!” He had just toured an historic home containing a Tiffany Moorish Chandelier.

We try to edit requests in order for clients to make responsible choices prior to deciding if an appraisal should be undertaken. It’s often important to have your items professional evaluated by someone who is not buying your property. Many of the items on this website are items clients had no idea were valuable. Once in a while, even an unusual Tiffany can be real!