by Paul Crist

The Book


     The years around the turn of the century bore witness to a binge of extravagant consumer spending that is unequalled in American history. This period happened to coincide with the onset of the electrification of our nation's homes, so an extraordinary amount of care and expense was lavished on our earliest forays into electric lighting. A prime example of these early extravagances was the mosaic or copper-foiled glass lamp shade. Louis Tiffany has rightly been credited for inventing and popularizing the medium, but there were also a significant number of other companies that followed Tiffany's lead in this popular new style. Until recently, however, the Tiffany name has so dominated the field that the work of his competitors has largely been ignored.

     Mosaic Shades II is the first book to comprehensively address the contribution of these lesser known manufacturers. Most of the lamps that they crafted are far rarer than Tiffany's output and seldom seen on the market today. A brief flip through the pages will reveal a presentation that is as astonishing in its diversity as it is in its wealth of creativity. In fact, the assembled images represent what is probably a truer picture of American taste after 1900 than the art nouveau style that dominated Tiffany's oeuvre. Rarely seen examples of their most elaborate lamps are sure to amaze and delight the antique lover and, hopefully, bring to you a greater appreciation of these unsung artisans.