Customer Reviews for

Clara and Mr. Tiffany

Average Rating 3.5
( 102 )
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(34)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

22 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

This is an engaging historical novel

Louis Comfort Tiffany hires unmarried women as his artists to avoid the strikes that men are prone to conduct. His New York glass studio manager Clara Driscoll is a widow with a series of romantic tragedies besides her husband's death. Clara does her best to insure he...
Louis Comfort Tiffany hires unmarried women as his artists to avoid the strikes that men are prone to conduct. His New York glass studio manager Clara Driscoll is a widow with a series of romantic tragedies besides her husband's death. Clara does her best to insure her talented female crew is taken care of properly.

In 1893 Tiffany presents the stained glass collection at the Chicago World's Fair. He takes all the accolades failing to mention the genius he left behind in New York. Clara enjoys living amidst the Gilded Age New York artist community, but wishes her contribution as the creator of the stained glass lampshades that have made Tiffany's famous would also bring her renown. The credit for the innovation goes to Tiffany, but Clara lives with that as her employer encourages her and her girls to create even if it negatively impacts profits. She also wishes for a man who was devoted to her as she has been to Tiffany and others.

This is an engaging historical that bases the storyline on the premise that Driscoll was the artistic genius not Tiffany although history and the then late nineteenth century gave all the kudos to the man. Thus the reader obtains a sense of time and place as society praises Tiffany but ignores his female workshop and its brilliant leader. Readers who enjoy something different will relish the tale of the woman behind the famous man.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on November 20, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Historic data not matching up

I first questioned the authenticity of this book when Clara was charged $50/month for room and board. Understanding that this amount also included meals, it just does not make sense for the time period. $50 in 1892 would equal about $1200/month today. Does not add up.

posted by 5655711 on February 1, 2011

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  • Posted November 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is an engaging historical novel

    Louis Comfort Tiffany hires unmarried women as his artists to avoid the strikes that men are prone to conduct. His New York glass studio manager Clara Driscoll is a widow with a series of romantic tragedies besides her husband's death. Clara does her best to insure her talented female crew is taken care of properly.

    In 1893 Tiffany presents the stained glass collection at the Chicago World's Fair. He takes all the accolades failing to mention the genius he left behind in New York. Clara enjoys living amidst the Gilded Age New York artist community, but wishes her contribution as the creator of the stained glass lampshades that have made Tiffany's famous would also bring her renown. The credit for the innovation goes to Tiffany, but Clara lives with that as her employer encourages her and her girls to create even if it negatively impacts profits. She also wishes for a man who was devoted to her as she has been to Tiffany and others.

    This is an engaging historical that bases the storyline on the premise that Driscoll was the artistic genius not Tiffany although history and the then late nineteenth century gave all the kudos to the man. Thus the reader obtains a sense of time and place as society praises Tiffany but ignores his female workshop and its brilliant leader. Readers who enjoy something different will relish the tale of the woman behind the famous man.

    Harriet Klausner

    22 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 21, 2011

    Old New York and Tiffany glass

    Susan Vreeland has chosen old New York for the setting of her latest novel and a fascinating world it is from the immigrant families huddled in tenements to the wealthy such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, heir to his self-made jeweler father and determined to utterly rule his world of colored glass windows and lamps. He is an old New York autocrat, allowing women to work for him in a women's department (it would be immoral to allow them to work with the men!), paying modest wages and exacting a terrible price on their employment: they cannot marry. He will not have their loyalties divided between the glitter of his glass and their needs as wives. The book is narrated by Clara, a middle-class creative woman who has to constantly remake her choice between her need for love and her need to work in Tiffany's brilliant shadow. She is one of the bright creators of his firm and in truth he basks in her creativity, taking almost all the credit for her work. Still she fights for the rights of the immigrant women who work under her. As the book progresses, Clara grows stronger. She fights for her girls and against the oppression of the men who would happily close down her department; while Tiffany lives in unbelievable luxury, her home remains a small room in a boarding house. Many of Susan Vreeland's portrayals of the immigrant girls and their strong spirits (or sometimes broken spirits) are breathtaking in their clarity and wisdom. Particularly luminous is her portrait of an idealistic male social worker who seems to take on every burden of the poor before he turns a startlingly different way. Tiffany also falls into loneliness while Clara goes steadfastly onward: learning, creating, inspiring others and making new designs for Tiffany lamps and new pathways in her world for herself and the many people she loves. Another wonderful novel about the creative arts from this very gifted author. (I am the author of CLAUDE & CAMILLE: A NOVEL OF MONET and MARRYING MOZART.)

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2013

    People who love art will love this book

    I bought this book because I had read her other book "Luncheon of the Boating Party" about Renoir and loved it. Having seen a Tiffany lamp exhibit in a museum, I was very interested in reading this book when I saw that it was about the women behind the art of Tiffany. Those who appreciate art for art's sake and the beauty of Tiffany glass will find this book very entertaining.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    Very interesting; very informative!

    As I read this well researched book I wished that I had visited the Tiffany Museum in Winter Park, FL, after reading Clara and Tiffany. The story lines of not one, but several, personal relationships, the process for making stained glass art objects, to labor relations and women's struggle to get and keep jobs is a great read. Visiting the museum enriches one's appreciation for the expertise necessary for making beautiful stained glass art pieces.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    A book you shouldn't miss!

    Clara and Mr. Tiffany's relationship is at the core of this novel which talks of art, creation and beauty in the making of stain glass. The reader walks away from the book not only being entertained by it, but also learning a bit about the process of making stained glass. Most importantly, the reader leaves this experience with a reaffirmation of the relationship between art and beauty, it's importance to our lives and it's role in a bit of American history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    Terrific

    Read this charming book, based on the lives of real people, and then go to your local art museum and appreciate the beautiful work of numerous known women. If you are fortunate you might even see Clara's own work.

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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    For me, this book was very interesting and I learned much about

    For me, this book was very interesting and I learned much about the art of being a glass designer and glass making. It was great to learn how the Tiffany Lamps came about.

    I liked all the characters in the book and found them entertaining; even though I wished Clara would have acknowledged by the world for all she had done for Mr. Tiffany.

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  • Posted April 5, 2012

    Highly recommend...fascinating detail of the glass business

    I loved this book. I found Clara a delightful character and appreciated her loyalty to Tiffany. Reading about the making of the Tiffany lamps and windows kept me mesmerized each time I sat down to read. For me this was one of those, "I can't wait to hear what happens next." I also enjoyed reading about the relationships Clara developed with her boarding house friends. The descriptions of New York City and the buildings help my interest. I felt like I was back at the turn of the century. Vreelands gave me a mental picture of the Flat Iron building even before she told the reader its name. So much in this book to hold the interest of the reader. Read the book and make yourself happy!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2011

    Excellent

    Loved it. The characters, the city, the story...an amazing read.

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  • Posted February 16, 2011

    Highly recommended

    Suspensful, emotional and intriging. Although some of the historical facts may/or may not be accurate this was a page turner. I would recommend this book for a club discussion and look forward to reading other books by this author.

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  • Posted February 7, 2011

    Loved the detail

    Although I don't know the accuracy of all the historical detail, I was thoroughly engaged by all of the detail regarding the glasswork. The romantic interest of Edwin was a little short but I didn't find that to be the main story. Excellent read!

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