Friday Morning Bookclub

May 31, 2011

Clara and Mr. Tiffany By Susan Vreeland

Filed under: Book Recomendations,Clara and Mr. Tiffany — susanbright @ 10:13 am

Clara and Mr. Tiffany is the story of the woman behind Louis Comfort Tiffany.  Although few have ever heard of the name Clara Driscoll, she was actually the one responsible for conceiving of the idea and designing the beautiful leaded glass lamps we are all so familiar with. Had it not been for letters found in 2005, which Clara had written during the 20 years she worked for Mr. Tiffany, she probably would have never gotten the recognition she deserved.

He jerked his head up with a startled expression, the idea dawning on him as if it were his own.

“Lampshades in leaded glass,” he said in wonder, his blue eyes sparkling.

” Just think where that could go,” I whispered.

I am. I am!” He tugged at his beard. It’s brilliant! An entirely new product. We’ll be the first on the market.”

 

 In order to protect his company against the all male union, Louis Comfort Tiffany employed women, which was most unusual for the time. He would not however allow married women to work for him, so Clara Driscoll was forced to leave her job when she married the much older Francis Driscoll. Unfortunately her husband died and Clara, left penniless moved into a boarding house and returned to work for Mr. Tiffany.

"Tiffany Girls" (Clara Driscoll at the far left) on the roof of Tiffany Studios, 1904-1905. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Winter Park, FL. Copyright The Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation, Inc.

 Clara was the head of the women’s glass cutter department and was responsible for hiring and managing the young women who worked along side of her creating the colorful glass mosaics, window and eventually lamps. Clara was a talented as well as fascinating person and I loved reading about her life, both personal and professional. Vreelands book is informative as well as a delight to read. Thank you Karen, one of our blogger friends for introducing me to Clara and Mr. Tiffany!

Wisteria lamp, designed by Clara Driscoll, circa 1901, model 342. Diam. 18 in. The New-York Historical Society, gift of Dr. Egon Neustadt. Photography by Glenn Castellano.

http://www.svreeland.com/tiff.html

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