The desk sets produced by Tiffany Studios were often inspired by the art and artifacts of ancient cultures. The richly decorated surface of the Byzantine Desk Set was likely inspired by the intricate details found in decorative objects from the Byzantine Empire. The three-dimensional surface of Tiffany Studios’ interpretation is accented by raised beading and inset pieces of Tiffany favrile glass.
The Byzantine desk set was designed and produced as early as 1909 and was likely discontinued by 1914. This set was the most expensive commercial desk set sold by Tiffany Studios at the time of its production. In addition to the detailed relief decoration, most examples for the set also incorporate glass beads and cabochons, often replicating natural materials like coral or turquoise, as well as inset pieces of flat Tiffany Glass in certain pieces from the set. The 1909 Tiffany Blue Book stated that “Rosary Pearls” could be added in lieu of glass beads for a minor price increase.
This stamp box in gold patina is one of an extremely small number of extant examples which incorporates inset mother of pearl instead of glass beads, with a central cabochon of teal Tiffany Glass which mimics veined turquoise. The hinged lid opens to reveal an interior with three inset compartments for stamps.
Height: 1 ¼ inches (3.2 cm)
Width: 4 inches (10.2 cm)
Depth: 2 inches (5.1 cm )
George A. Kemeny with Donald Miller, Tiffany Desk Treasures: A Collector's Guide (2002), pg. 40