This fanciful blown-glass work by Tiffany Studios always stirs the curiosity of visitors to the Reception Room. Despite appearing to be just an objet d’art to admire, it is designed to serve a function—as a humidor, used to preserve tobacco in an airtight space.
Just as with the Smoking Room in the Nickerson mansion, the humidor evokes the exotic regions from which its owner might have imported his tobacco. The spiraling bronze wire, which overlaps across the lid and body, takes a cue from Middle Eastern decorative motifs.
Notice how the opaque green glass, which has a rich, almost marbled surface, presses against that decorative wire framework. Created in Tiffany’s glassmaking factory in Queens, New York by skilled artisans, the glass was blown into the ready frame. The work achieves exactly what Louis Comfort Tiffany most desired in glass objects like these—a sense of the handmade.
By September 28, 2013, the humidor will migrate from the Reception Room to the second-floor galleries and join the other Tiffany works for the duration of the exhibition Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection.
Tiffany Studios (American, est. 1902). Humidor, c. 1902-10. Bronze and blown glass, 18 ½ x 6 ½ in. Photograph by John Faier, © The Richard H. Driehaus Museum.