Here’s to another year of fun and informative newsletters! I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed researching and writing them.
We begin 2017 with a newsletter about the rich celebrating New Year’s during Tiffany’s time. It tells of a sumptuous bygone era, it has great illustrations and a ballet video, too. See the Article: The Gilded Age
Our Featured Item is the White Camellia shade. It is chosen because of its Victorian pattern which fits this month’s newsletter theme and because the white mottled, hand rolled glass used for this shade reminds me of tufts of winter snow. Check it out.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! Wishing you all the best in 2017.
Lorena & Crew
White Camellia Lamp
20" W x 13" D plus hanging chain
The most noticeable feature of this shade is the beautiful hand rolled, mottled white glass we used. It occupies most of the surface of the shade and for practicality purposes results in a fixture that allows lots of light.
THE GILDED AGE – How Tiffany and the Rich Celebrated New Year’s
1880 thru 1910 – an era known as the Gilded Age in the U.S. and La Belle Époque in Europe. It is characterized as opulent, over-the-top; when old money and the nouveau rich high society flaunted their wealth, particularly on New Year’s festivities. It still influences how we celebrate the holiday today.
Old money celebrates New Year's,1941.
The Vanderbilts, 5th Ave, NYC
The noveau rich celebrate New Year's, 1890's
These were golden years for Louis Comfort Tiffany. (New York, 1848-1933). Born rich, well connected, internationally prosperous and an extravagant spender, he exemplified The Gilded Age/La Belle Époque. Stylishly slumming it with Mr. Tiffany and his pals on New Year’s Eve at the turn of the century, whether it be in New York City or Paris, would be just the hottest ticket.
A New Years Nocturne, 1892 by Frederick Childe Hassam
Tiffany would visit private homes of friends and family which was the traditional means to welcome in the new year. If you did not show up at a house either on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, it meant that you must not think much of the friendship or kinship.
Calling on New Years
These elegant New Year’s parties were hosted by the women of tycoons. They spent much time readying their spectacular mansions for the soirees. No expense was spared in preparing vast spreads of food and spirits which were displayed on luxurious table settings. The food served for the occasion was heavy, creamy French cuisine. Americans considered all things Continental to be particularly sophisticated.
Gilded Age table setting
The gracious hostesses greeted their guests wearing the latest, corseted Parisian gowns, piled-up hair dos and jewels. Men dressed in white tie and waistcoat. There were full sit-down dinners with wines and champagne to welcome in the New Year and dancing to an orchestra.
Paris, New Year's Eve, 1905 Marthe de Florian, a Famous French courtesan, by Giovanni Boldi,
In 2010, like a Belle Époque time capsule, her long ago shuttered apartment was discovered.
Read more about it here.
The End of Dinner, 1913 by Jues-Alexandre Gun
By the 1920’s New Year’s traditions had become less formal. Dress codes began to relax. The celebrating grew more casual with buffet-style dinners becoming the norm at New Year’s Eve apartment parties. It was the Jazz Age.
Dancing to an orchestra
Jazz Age 1920's New Year's Eve
Tiffany detested the vulgar Jazz Age. Gone forever was the lavish Victorian era he so loved and reigned over; the grand galas of New Year’s Eve, the bedecked and bejeweled - perhaps dancing to the lovely Merry Widow Waltz at Maxime’s in Paris, toasting in the New Year.
The Australian Ballet's Merry Widow Waltz
Today it is much easier on every one to just show up at Times Square in Tiffany’s home town, New York City to ring in the New Year with the masses.
NEW YEARS FUN FACTS
It all started with the Dutch
The Knickerbocker Dutch of Old New York gave us our tradition of New Year’s celebrating. It was a festivity with much gaiety and drinking. At midnight, the salutations of the season were exchanged and the families retired to prepare for the callers of the next day. On the 1st began the all-day tradition of “New Year’s calling”; walking the crowded streets to visit all your friends in the Colony to wish them well in the coming year. You daren’t pass up anyone.
Times Square Midnight, 1938
New Years Calling
The Dutch celebrating New Year's Eve
Punch – an old New Year’s tradition.
What a magnificent bowl of Punch! - a mysterious beverage concocted for the New Year’s party. Men would visit from house to house and fill punch bowls with lemons, rum, cordials, honey, and assorted spirits. It was so delicious that for a man to be drunk on New Year’s Day from punch was not considered any disgrace.
Too much New Year's punch
Why we celebrate the new year with champagne
Since ancient times people celebrated the New Year with spirits, usually wines. But the custom of drinking champagne at the holiday came from France. Considered more delicate and elegant, champagne became the choice beverage of the aristocracy once the French revolution had ended. Eventually the American wealthy had begun to drink it as a mark of sophistication. Given its association with prosperity, champagne became a drink of choice at New Year’s Eve parties.
Dropping the New Year’s Ball
In the 19th century at midnight, January 1, bells would ring at Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan to welcome in the New Year. On December 31st 1907 the bells were replaced by dropping an illuminated ball in Times Square.
A Happy 2017 to all!