Tiffany's Organic Idyll

A master of style, Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) was 63 when he posed in the gardens of Laurelton Hall for this portrait by Joaquín Sorrolla y Bastida.

To design his exotic 84- room country house in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, N.Y., Tiffany borrowed architectural elements from the Orient. An elevation with the notation "looking south," shows R. L. Pryor as the architect of record.

A vintage photograph records the grandeur of Laurelton Hall's special effects, including a four-column loggia decorated with colored glass and pottery capitals in the form of flowers.

Fire ravaged the estate, but elements of the loggia were salvaged and resurrected in 1980 in the Charles Engelhard Court of the Metropolitan's American Wing, a gift of Tiffany collectors Hugh F. and Jeannette G. McKean. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which Jeannette McKean founded in Winter Park, Fla., shared its holdings to produce the Metropolitan museum's exhibition.

Tiffany selected every detail and feature of his interiors to create a harmonious environment. For the dining room, he combined floral patterned walls and leaded glass windows trailing with wisteria vines to obscure the boundary between indoors and out.

The new offices face either the central courtyard or a restored wetland to the south. The subtle palette of glass and custom light-gray recycled aluminum panels complements the stone of the original Brooks Farm.

Terrraced gardens descended from the mansion to a private beach on Long Island Sound, past stables, tennis courts, greenhouses, a chapel, a studio, and an art gallery.

From the loggia to the Daffodil Court, profusions of flowers ornamented column capitals in glass and terracotta relief.

Tiffany installed leadedglass exhibition windows, including the Pumpkin and Beet window, created for the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, in his living hall.

The invention of iridescent, color-infused Favrile glass, considered Tiffany's greatest innovation, enabled craftsmen to embellish this blown glass lamp from the Fountain Court with variegated leaves and vines.

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