JOSEPH BURR TIFFANY

Joseph Burr Tiffany (center-left) reviews a piano design with an associate
Joseph Burr Tiffany (center-left) reviews a piano design with an associate

From STEINWAY by Ronald V. Ratcliffe

In 1897 Joseph Burr Tiffany (1856-1917), from the illustrious family that founded Tiffany & Co., was appointed to head the newly established Art Case Department for Steinway & Co.

J. Burr Tiffany received an aesthetic education in the family business and subsequently studied with Adrian Pottier, nephew of the founder and principal in the New York design firm Pottier and Stymus, which had previously decorated a number of Steinway pianos. Pottier and Stymus along with Herter Brothers were the most celebrated American furniture makers of their time. Tiffany is credited with the promotional coup of getting a Steinway piano to the White House. He oversaw the design and execution of the piano, serial number 100,000, which was presented in 1903 during the term of Theodore Roosevelt.

Tiffany held his post until 1912 and under his guidance many of Steinway’s most significant pianos assumed their place in history.