Day Trips from Nashville- Tiffany Lampshades

13 Nov

Last weekend I went to the Brooks Museum in Memphis, a three hour drive from Nashville.  Fall is a spectacular time for a quick road trip in Tennessee, with all the leaves changing it appears as if the whole world is glowing.

The Brooks Museum is located in Overton Park, an expansive 342 acre park nestled almost silently in busy Midtown Memphis.  I had gone specifically to see the traveling exhibit from the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass permanently housed at the Queens Museum of Art.  Tiffany lampshades were hand manufactured between 1895 till about the mid-thirties under the inspiration of Louis Tiffany, a lover of nature.  Many of the lamps in the collection take their beauty from the natural world with flowers, feathers, and pastoral scenes.

The exhibit contains some of the more impressive works, such as a Dragonfly overhead lamp, wisteria library lamp, peacock lamp with base made for oil and more, but perhaps the most interesting part of the exhibit was a display showing how the lampshades were made.

The exhibit artfully showed the skill and detail it required from their factory workers to choose the proper colors of glass with two versions of the rose lamp; one well chosen with a green background, and one with flowers that ‘bleed’ into the background in a sea of pinks.  The artists had a template wooden bowl where after the glass was chosen, and wrapped in copper foil, they were put on the bowl in the correct place.

The Neustadt Collection runs until January 13, 2013 in Memphis and returns to the Queens Museum of Art in New York.  If you are close to either it would be well-worth seeing.

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Rachel Louise Martin, Ph.D.

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