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Gallery Text

Tiffany’s naturalistic art glass catered to elite Americans’ taste for singular, handmade objects. With their asymmetrical, organic forms and unevenly distributed colors, these works stand in stark contrast to the more uniform, mass-produced goods that proliferated at the turn of the nineteenth century. A skillful marketer, Tiffany branded his glass “favrile,” a loose adaption of the Old English word “fabrille” or “hand wrought.”

Tiffany employed teams of skilled artisans at his glassworks in Corona, New York, to transform his sketched designs into three-dimensional objects. Producing the multicolored surfaces of these vases required manual dexterity and a working knowledge of chemistry. The artisans incorporated colored canes, or rods, into the glass when it was still hot and malleable and then treated the glass with metal oxides to give each form a striking iridescent finish.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, American (1892-1902)
Favrile Vase
Other Titles
Former Title: Floriform Vase
Work Type
19th century
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2100, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, Centuries of Tradition, Changing Times: Art for an Uncertain Age
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Physical Descriptions
Glass with applied colors
34.9 x 12 cm (13 3/4 x 4 3/4 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of H. Wade White
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Exhibition History

32Q: 2100 19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at