Clara and Mr. Tiffany

( 99 )

Overview

Against the unforgettable backdrop of New York near the turn of the twentieth century, from the Gilded Age world of formal balls and opera to the immigrant poverty of the Lower East Side, bestselling author Susan Vreeland again breathes life into a work of art in this extraordinary novel, which brings a woman once lost in the shadows into vivid color.

It’s 1893, and at the Chicago World’s Fair, Louis Comfort Tiffany makes his debut with a luminous exhibition of innovative ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (30) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $8.19   
  • Used (26) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$8.19
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(126)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
2011-01-11 Hardcover New New Condition. Clean crisp tight copy, no marks or tears. Email Notification. Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Ships from: manhattan beach, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$19.62
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(26)

Condition: New
New York 2011 Hard Cover First Edition New in New jacket

Ships from: BARRIE, Canada

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$19.99
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:

(133)

Condition: New
Deckle Edge New Some copies may or may not show light in store shelving, age or handling.

Ships from: Rutherford College, NC

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$24.97
Seller since 2013

Feedback rating:

(21)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 1400068169 FAST shipping. New Unread Book. (Thank you for shopping from us. Order inquiries handled promptly. )

Ships from: FORT LAUDERDALE, FL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Clara and Mr. Tiffany

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.

Overview

Against the unforgettable backdrop of New York near the turn of the twentieth century, from the Gilded Age world of formal balls and opera to the immigrant poverty of the Lower East Side, bestselling author Susan Vreeland again breathes life into a work of art in this extraordinary novel, which brings a woman once lost in the shadows into vivid color.

It’s 1893, and at the Chicago World’s Fair, Louis Comfort Tiffany makes his debut with a luminous exhibition of innovative stained-glass windows, which he hopes will honor his family business and earn him a place on the international artistic stage. But behind the scenes in his New York studio is the freethinking Clara Driscoll, head of his women’s division. Publicly unrecognized by Tiffany, Clara conceives of and designs nearly all of the iconic leaded-glass lamps for which he is long remembered.

Clara struggles with her desire for artistic recognition and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that she faces as a professional woman, which ultimately force her to protest against the company she has worked so hard to cultivate. She also yearns for love and companionship, and is devoted in different ways to five men, including Tiffany, who enforces to a strict policy: he does not hire married women, and any who do marry while under his employ must resign immediately. Eventually, like many women, Clara must decide what makes her happiest—the professional world of her hands or the personal world of her heart.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Vreeland (Luncheon of the Boating Party) again excavates the life behind a famous artistic creation--in this case the Tiffany leaded-glass lamp, the brainchild not of Louis Comfort Tiffany but his glass studio manager, Clara Driscoll. Tiffany staffs his studio with female artisans--a decision that protects him from strikes by the all-male union--but refuses to employ women who are married. Lucky for him, Clara's romantic misfortunes--her husband's death, the disappearance of another suitor--insure that she can continue to craft the jewel-toned glass windows and lamps that catch both her eye and her imagination. Behind the scenes she makes her mark as an artist and champion of her workers, while living in an eclectic Irving Place boarding house populated by actors and artists. Vreeland ably captures Gilded Age New York and its atmosphere--robber barons, sweatshops, colorful characters, ateliers--but her preoccupation with the larger historical story comes at the expense of Clara, whose arc, while considered and nicely told, reflects the times too closely in its standard-issue woman-behind-the-man scenario. (Jan.)
From the Publisher

PRAISE FOR SUSAN VREELAND

Clara and Mr. Tiffany

“The book brims with fascinating information about Tiffany's glassmaking and about New York as its gilded age gives way to a more progressive era. ...Vreeland's ability to make this complex historical novel as luminous as a Tiffany lamp is nothing less than remarkable.” — Washington Post
 
“Vreeland's writing is so graceful, her research so exhaustive, that a reader is enfolded in the world of Tiffany and Driscoll….fascinating.”  —  Los Angeles Times
 
“Vreeland offers a fascinating look at at turn-of-the-century New York City.” — People Magazine (4 stars)
 
“[H]ot as a glass factory…Give Vreeland credit for shedding light on a little-known slice of women’s history.”  —  USA Today
 
“You’ll never look at a Tiffany lamp or window the same way.” —  Daily Candy National  “Weekend Guide”
 
“Fascinating.”— Newark Star Ledger
 
“Vreeland has done a good job describing the tensions within the business and between creative artistry and a desire for a personal life… An interesting book about a woman deservedly rescued from obscurity.” —  Fredericksburg, Va. Free Star
 
“If you’re a fiction reader, you are going to want to pick up at least one of these early 2011 novels.”  —  The Christian Science Monitor, “5 Novels for the New Year”
 
“The author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue here imagines a woman torn between art and love in a novel based on the real-life creator of the iconic Tiffany lamps.” —  O Magazine, “10 Titles to Pick Up Now”
 
“Who knew Tiffany’s iconic lamp was designed by a woman? Perfect fodder for historical novelist Vreeland, who travels back to New York City’s Gilded Age to imagine how it all unfolded.”  —  Good Housekeeping

 
“Vreeland brings 1890s Manhattan to vibrant life…Vivid descriptions of window and lamp production will surely bring readers a new appreciation for stained glass.  And Clara’s battles for the rights of her female workers and for artistic originality versus mass production are compelling, as is her complicated relationship with Mr. Tiffany.  This charming woman is a memorable heroine and, just as Clara’s art enhanced the images of nature that it depicted, Vreeland’s illuminating vision of Clara’s story is a pleasure to experience.”  -  BookPage
 
 
 "As sparkling and alluring as the lost story of the woman who created the famed Tiffany glass lamps, Clara and Mr. Tiffany is a masterpiece of a novel.  In it fin de siècle New York jumps to life in all its gaudy and heartbreaking grandeur and opportunities.  As much a character study of a city and a time as of a woman, Susan Vreeland shows us the new technology that enabled people to craft the magnificent lamps so sought after today, and the artist’s eye of Clara Driscoll  that brought them to perfection."
-- Margaret George
 
 
“For the first time in my long life of reading novels, Susan Vreeland made me cry over the glory of women's work. Clara and Mr. Tiffany is a noble and necessary book, lest we allow ourselves to be ignorant of the struggle, courage, and vision of women who have come before us. Readers will never look at a Tiffany lamp or window in the same way again.”
      --Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife and Adam & Eve

Girl in Hyacinth Blue
 
“[A] beautifully written exploration of the power of art.”—Parade
 
“Stunning . . . haunting.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
Luncheon of the Boating Party
 
“A masterwork.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune
 
“Vreeland takes the big, bold brush-strokes of Renoir’s personal and artistic oeuvre and displays them with her usual vividness in this eponymous novel. . . . Sensual and provocative.”—Baltimore Sun

“The book brims with fascinating information about Tiffany's glassmaking and about New York as its gilded age gives way to a more progressive era. ...Vreeland's ability to make this complex historical novel as luminous as a Tiffany lamp is nothing less than remarkable.” — Washington Post
 
“Vreeland's writing is so graceful, her research so exhaustive, that a reader is enfolded in the world of Tiffany and Driscoll….fascinating.”  — Los Angeles Times
 
“Vreeland offers a fascinating look at at turn-of-the-century New York City.” — People Magazine (4 stars)
 
“[H]ot as a glass factory…Give Vreeland credit for shedding light on a little-known slice of women’s history.”  — USA Today
 
“You’ll never look at a Tiffany lamp or window the same way.” — Daily Candy National  “Weekend Guide”
 
“Fascinating.”— Newark Star Ledger
 
“Vreeland has done a good job describing the tensions within the business and between creative artistry and a desire for a personal life… An interesting book about a woman deservedly rescued from obscurity.” — Fredericksburg, Va. Free Star
 
“If you’re a fiction reader, you are going to want to pick up at least one of these early 2011 novels.”  — The Christian Science Monitor, “5 Novels for the New Year”
 
“The author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue here imagines a woman torn between art and love in a novel based on the real-life creator of the iconic Tiffany lamps.” — O Magazine, “10 Titles to Pick Up Now”
 
“Who knew Tiffany’s iconic lamp was designed by a woman? Perfect fodder for historical novelist Vreeland, who travels back to New York City’s Gilded Age to imagine how it all unfolded.”  — Good Housekeeping
 
 
“Vreeland brings 1890s Manhattan to vibrant life…Vivid descriptions of window and lamp production will surely bring readers a new appreciation for stained glass.  And Clara’s battles for the rights of her female workers and for artistic originality versus mass production are compelling, as is her complicated relationship with Mr. Tiffany.  This charming woman is a memorable heroine and, just as Clara’s art enhanced the images of nature that it depicted, Vreeland’s illuminating vision of Clara’s story is a pleasure to experience.”  -  BookPage
 
 
 "As sparkling and alluring as the lost story of the woman who created the famed Tiffany glass lamps, Clara and Mr. Tiffany is a masterpiece of a novel.  In it fin de siècle New York jumps to life in all its gaudy and heartbreaking grandeur and opportunities.  As much a character study of a city and a time as of a woman, Susan Vreeland shows us the new technology that enabled people to craft the magnificent lamps so sought after today, and the artist’s eye of Clara Driscoll  that brought them to perfection."
-- Margaret George
 
 
“For the first time in my long life of reading novels, Susan Vreeland made me cry over the glory of women's work. Clara and Mr. Tiffany is a noble and necessary book, lest we allow ourselves to be ignorant of the struggle, courage, and vision of women who have come before us. Readers will never look at a Tiffany lamp or window in the same way again.”
      --Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife and Adam & Eve

Library Journal
Vreeland (Luncheon of the Boating Party) creates another affecting story of artistic vision and innovation, this time set within the crafts movement around the turn of the 19th century. She tells the story of Clara Driscoll, who ran the women's workshop at the New York studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany. In Vreeland's account, it was Clara who had the idea to create lampshades from stained glass; Mr. Tiffany, unconcerned with profits, gave her the freedom to follow her creative instincts. While Clara had her share of personal struggles, she lived happily among artists and bohemians during a time of great social change; settlement houses, women's suffrage, and trade unions were among the nascent progressive movements that influenced her life and times. VERDICT In trademark style, Vreeland adds depth to her novel by incorporating details about the artistic process. Her descriptions highlight the craftsmanship behind the timeless beauty of Tiffany's glass, and the true story of Clara Driscoll's life serves as a colorful canvas. Recommended for historical fiction readers; likely to become a favorite on the book club circuit. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/10.]—Susanne Wells, P.L. of Cincinnati & Hamilton Cty.
Kirkus Reviews

In her sixth work of fiction about the inter-penetration of life and art, Vreeland (Luncheon of the Boating Party, 2007, etc.) celebrates the putative designer of Tiffany's leaded-glass lampshades.

That would be Clara Driscoll. Some art historians now believe that it was Clara, unacknowledged in her lifetime, who conceived the lampshades. What is indisputable is that, encouraged by Louis Tiffany, she was a major creative force at his Glass and Decorating Company. (This was separate from the jewelry company, run by his father Charles.) From 1892 to 1908, she oversaw the Women's Department; many of her workers were from poor immigrant families and still in their teens. Louis would not employ married women. Clara had returned to the company after her much older husband Francis died, omitting her from his will. Vreeland's account of the marriage is sketchy; her primary focus is on the workplace. Here Clara is a commanding figure: a mother hen to the Tiffany Girls, a feminist challenging the rampant sexism of the Men's Department and an imaginative innovator marrying glass to flowers and insects. Her greatest triumph was the dragonfly lamp at the Paris Exposition, though even there she was not given credit. However, she did find consolation in her bohemian downtown boardinghouse, especially in the company of the madcap painter George Waldo (gay, like several of their fellow lodgers) and his straight brother Edwin, a prospective husband until his mysterious disappearance. Vreeland guides us conscientiously through the world of glass, of cames and cabochons, though the detail can be overwhelming. More damagingly, she has let the stifling propriety of the time infect Clara as narrator; though prim among her peers, she could surely have unbuttoned to us, her readers. Louis, cocooned in reverence, suffers too. His one memorable scene comes after his wife's death when, a remorseful drunk, his language turns salty.

A novel that reads like a labor of love. Unfortunately, the labor is as evident as the love.

Eugenia Zukerman
Clara and Mr. Tiffany is about art and commerce, love and duty. Peopled with characters both imagined and historic, it is also a study of New York's ultra-rich and desperate poor, its entitled men and its disenfranchised women. And it is the story of one extraordinary woman's passion and determination…Vreeland's ability to make this complex historical novel as luminous as a Tiffany lamp is nothing less than remarkable.
—The Washington Post
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400068166
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/11/2011
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Vreeland
Susan Vreeland is the New York Times bestselling author of five books, including Luncheon of the Boating Party, Life Studies, The Passion of Artemisia, The Forest Lover, and Girl in Hyacinth Blue. She lives in San Diego.

Biography

"When I was nine, my great-grandfather, a landscape painter, taught me to mix colors," Susan Vreeland recalls in an interview on her publisher's web site. "With his strong hand surrounding my small one, he guided the brush until a calla lily appeared as if by magic on a page of textured watercolor paper. How many girls throughout history would have longed to be taught that, but had to do washing and mending instead?"

As a grown woman, Vreeland found her own magical way of translating her vision of the world into art. While teaching high school English in the 1980s, she began to write, publishing magazine articles, short stories, and her first novel, What Love Sees. In 1996, Vreeland was diagnosed with lymphoma, which forced her to take time off from teaching -- time she spent undergoing medical treatment and writing stories about a fictional Vermeer painting.

"Creative endeavor can aid healing because it lifts us out of self-absorption and gives us a goal," she later wrote. In Vreeland's case, her goal "was to live long enough to finish this set of stories that reflected my sensibilities, so that my writing group of twelve dear friends might be given these and know that in my last months I was happy -- because I was creating."

Vreeland recovered from her illness and wove her stories into a novel, Girl in Hyacinth Blue. The book was a national bestseller, praised by The New York Times as "intelligent, searching and unusual" and by Kirkus Reviews as "extraordinarily skilled historical fiction: deft, perceptive, full of learning, deeply moving." Its interrelated stories move backward in time, creating what Marion Lignana Rosenberg in Salon called "a kind of Chinese box unfolding from the contemporary hiding-place of a painting attributed to Vermeer all the way back to the moment the work was conceived."

Vreeland's next novel, The Passion of Artemisia, was based on the life of the 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi, often regarded as the first woman to hold a significant place in the history of European art. "Forthright and imaginative, Vreeland's deft recreation ably showcases art and life," noted Publishers Weekly.

Love for the visual arts, especially painting, continues to fire Vreeland's literary imagination. Her new novel, The Forest Lover, is a fictional exploration of the life of the 20th-century Canadian artist Emily Carr. She has also written a series of art-related short stories. For Vreeland, art provides inspiration for living as well as for literature. As she put it in an autobiographical essay, "I hope that by writing art-related fiction, I might bring readers who may not recognize the enriching and uplifting power of art to the realization that it can serve them as it has so richly served me."

Good To Know

Two other novels relating to Vermeer were published within a year of Girl in Hyacinth Blue: The Music Lesson by Katharine Weber and Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier.

Vreeland lives in San Diego with her husband, a software engineer. She taught high school English and ceramics for 30 years before retiring to become a full-time writer.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      San Diego, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 20, 1946
    2. Place of Birth:
      Racine, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      San Diego State University
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

chapter 1

9781400068166|excerpt

Vreeland: CLARA AND MR. TIFFANY

Peacock

I opened the beveled-glass door under the sign announcing Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company in ornate bronze. A new sign with a new name. Fine. I felt new too.

In the ground-floor showroom of the five-story building, stained-glass windows hung from the high ceiling, and large mosaic panels leaned against the walls. Despite the urgency of my business, I couldn’t resist taking a quick look at the free-form vases, bronze desk sets, pendulum clocks, and Art Nouveau candelabras. It was the oil lamps that bothered me. Their blown-glass shades sat above squat, bulbous bases too earthbound to be elegant. Mr. Tiffany was capable of more grace than that.

A new young floor manager tried to stop me at the marble stairway. I gave him a look that implied, I was here before you were born, and pushed his arm away as though it were a Coney Island turnstile.

On the second floor, I peered into Mr. Tiffany’s large office-studio. With a gardenia pinned to his lapel, he sat at his desk behind a row of potted orchids. In February, no less! Such were the extravagances of wealth. His formerly trim bottle brush of a mustache had sprouted into robust ram’s horns.

His own paintings hung on the walls—Citadel Mosque of Old Cairo, with tall, slender minarets, and Market Day at Tangier, with a high tower on a distant hill. A new one depicted a lily on a tall stalk lording over a much shorter one. Amusing. Little Napoléon’s self-conscious preoccupation with height was alive and well.

New tall pedestals draped with bedouin shawls flanked the fireplace. On them Oriental vases held peacock feathers. In this his design sense went awry, sacrificed to his flamboyancy. If he wanted to appear taller, the pedestals should have been shorter. Someday I would tell him.

“Excuse me.”

“Why, Miss Wolcott!”

“Mrs. Driscoll. I got married, you remember.”

“Oh, yes. You can’t be wanting employment, then. My policy hasn’t—”

I pulled back my shoulders. “As of two weeks ago, I’m a single woman again.”

He was too much the gentleman to ask questions, but he couldn’t hide the gleam in his eyes.

“I’ve come to inquire if you have work for me. That is, if my performance pleased you before.” A deliberate prompt. I didn’t want to be hired because of my need or his kindness. I wanted my talent to be the reason he wanted me back.

“Indeed” was all he offered.

What now to fill the suspended moment? His new projects. I asked. His eyebrows leapt up in symmetrical curves.

“A Byzantine chapel for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago next year. Four times bigger than the Paris Exposition Universelle. It will be the greatest assembly of artists since the fifteenth century.” He counted on his fingers and then drummed them on the desk. “Only fifteen months away. In 1893 the name of Louis Comfort Tiffany will be on the lips of millions!” He stood up and swung open his arms wide enough to embrace the whole world.

I sensed his open palm somewhere in the air behind the small of my back, ushering me to his massive, carved mahogany exhibit table to see his sketches and watercolors. “Two round windows, The Infancy of Christ and Botticelli’s Madonna and Child, will be set off by a dozen scenic side windows.”

A huge undertaking. How richly fortunate. Surely there would be opportunity for me to shine.

Practically hopping from side to side, he made a show of slinging down one large watercolor after another onto the Persian carpet, each one a precise, fine-edged rendering of what he wanted the window to be.

“Gracious! You’ve been on fire. Go slower! Give me a chance to admire each one.”

He unrolled the largest watercolor. “An eight-foot mosaic behind the altar depicting a pair of peacocks surrounded by grapevines.”

My breath whistled between my open lips. Above the peacocks facing each other, he had transformed the standard Christian icon of a crown of thorns into a shimmering regal headdress for God the King, the thorns replaced by large glass jewels in true Tiffany style.

Astonishing how he could get mere watercolors so deep and saturated, so like lacquer that they vibrated together as surely as chords of a great church pipe organ. Even the names of the hues bore an exotic richness. The peacocks’ necks in emerald green and sapphire blue. The tail feathers in vermilion, Spanish ocher, Florida gold. The jewels in the crown mandarin yellow and peridot. The background in turquoise and cobalt. Oh, to get my hands on those gorgeous hues. To feel the coolness of the blue glass, like solid pieces of the sea. To chip the gigantic jewels for the crown so they would sparkle and send out shafts of light. To forget everything but the glass before me and make of it something resplendent.

When I could trust my voice not to show too much eagerness, I said, “I see your originality is in good health. Only you would put peacocks in a chapel.”

“Don’t you know?” he said in a spoof of incredulity. “They symbolized eternal life in Byzantine art. Their flesh was thought to be incorruptible.”

“What a lucky find for you, that convenient tidbit of information.”

He chuckled, so I was on safe ground.

He tossed down more drawings. “A marble-and-mosaic altar surrounded by mosaic columns, and a baptismal font of opaque leaded glass and mosaic.”

“This dome is the lid of the basin? In opaque leaded glass?”

He looked at it with nothing short of love, and showed me its size with outstretched arms as though he were hugging the thing.

I was struck by a tantalizing idea. “Imagine it reduced in size and made of translucent glass instead. Once you figure how to secure the pieces in a dome, that could be the method and the shape of a lampshade. A wraparound window of, say”—I looked around the room—“peacock feathers.”

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 sparking.

“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. And not just peacock featherth. Flowerth too!”

Excitement overtook his struggle to control his lisp, which surfaced only when he spoke with passion.

“But the chapel first. This will be our secret for now.”

Men harboring secrets—I seemed attracted to them unwittingly.

“Besides the window department and the mosaic department, I have six women working on the chapel windows. I’ve always thought that women have greater sensitivity to nuances of color than men do. You’ve proved that yourself, so I want more women. You’ll be in charge of them.”

“That will suit me just fine.”

Read More Show Less

Interviews & Essays

DISCOVERING CLARA

By Susan Vreeland

For a century, everyone assumed that the iconic Tiffany lamps were conceived and designed by that American master of stained glass, Louis Comfort Tiffany. Not so! It was a woman! Aha!

If it weren't for the Victorian zest for writing voluminous letters, Clara Driscoll would be only a footnote in the history of decorative arts. However, by an astonishing coincidence in 2005, three individuals unknown to each other--a distant relative of Clara, a Tiffany scholar, and an archivist at the Queens Historical Society--each aware of only one collection of Clara's letters, brought the correspondence to the attention of two art historians specializing in Tiffany, Martin Eidelberg and Nina Gray.

The result was electric. The two art historians contacted Margaret K. Hofer, Curator of Decorative Arts at the New York Historical Society which owns a huge collection of Tiffany lamps. Together they mounted an exhibition in 2007, A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls, in which Clara was hailed as "a gifted unsung artist" whose letters provided an eyewitness account of the workings of Tiffany Studios and revealed the vital role played by women. Their startling discovery rocked the art world.

While I was on tour in New York for my 2007 novel, Luncheon of the Boating Party, my agent and I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see a lavish Tiffany exhibit recreating a portion of his fabled Long Island estate, Laurelton Hall. Instantly, I fell in love with Tiffany glass. By another coincidence, her husband spotted a review of the New York Historical Society exhibition, which we saw the next day. I was intrigued, but not convinced until I read the illuminating exhibition book as well as Clara's correspondence at the library of Kent State University, Ohio, and at the Queens Historical Society.

Poring over her letters, I discovered the wry, lively, sometimes rhapsodic voice of a freethinking woman who bicycled all around Manhattan and beyond, wore a riding skirt daringly shorter than street length, adored opera, followed the politics of the city even though she couldn't vote, and threw herself into the crush of Manhattan life--the Gilded Age uptown as well as the immigrant poverty of the Lower East Side. There before me in her own handwriting was an account of her making the first leaded-glass lampshade with mosaic base. I recognized her to be a dynamic yet tender leader who developed the Women's Department which created the nature-based lamps she designed. I rubbed my hands together in glee.

When I remembered that my mother, who lovingly called colors by their flower and fruit names, and who worked briefly as a lamp designer in Chicago in the 1930s, was required to resign from another position when she became engaged, just like the Tiffany Girls were required to do, I felt a personal connection to Clara. I sought out as many of her lamps as I could find, researched Tiffany and New York's cultural history in more than fifty books and articles, and then I eagerly settled down to write the story I felt was mine to tell.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 99 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(14)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 99 Customer Reviews
  • 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

    20 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    jkhcjh@comcast.net

    I thought this book was not only a wonderful experience of how the world of art was for women at the turn of the century but about the life and times of Tiffany and how he built a powerful business and world of beauty from glass!

    3 out of 3 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2013

    An Interesting, Entertaining Look at Historic Characters

    Our book club enjoyed this book, each of us for a slightly different reason. We all found it easy to read and quite entertaining. A few thought the amount of technical detail was a bit much, but it was easy to skim over and get back to the story. Personally, I thought the technical detail was interesting and served to better illustrate Clara's unusual status in what was a man's domain. We all found Vreeland's imagined reconstruction of characters and events to be entirely believable in the context of the actual historic evidence available. The book provided interesting, unexpected glimpses into different aspects of life then: the immigrant experience, seaside holidays, medical treatments, the gay community. Bottom line: not necessarily a must-read, but a very worthwhile book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2011

    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.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    Dull

    The book was too slow and I could have done with half of the explanations of the glass work. The history of the women's movement was good and I would have liked that to be more instead of all the mechanics of tiffany glass.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

    Anonymous

    This book is silly, not worth my time. I will not finish it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 5, 2013

    Recommended

    Good book and being a New Yorker it was delightful the historical data from Louis Tiffany era. The stain glass beginning and a time long gone but clearly stated in Susan Vreeland book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    My name is clara

    Hi im almost 12

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    If you like learning about making lamps and stained glass window

    If you like learning about making lamps and stained glass windows and such, this is the book for you. I found it boring except for Clara's love life which was actually boring too, as I think about it. I did not finish the book......yearn for something really good like Jennifer Haigh books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 21, 2013

    The book is engaging & very well written. It's fun to read a

    The book is engaging & very well written. It's fun to read about New York city as well as the art of Tiffany.Of course women played more than a pivotal role in what most believe was a man's domain. VERY enjoyable. And, the characters were intriguing as well.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    Had to read this book for book club. It was diffcult to get thro

    Had to read this book for book club. It was diffcult to get through the nearly 400 pages of boring reading. The characters don't have enough depth to relate to, so you don't really care what happens to them. Clara has very odd relationships with men and seems more connected to art and the beauty of it than connecting with people. I wonder how much liberty the author took writing a fictional book about real people, i.e., did Clara really care that much about the other women workers and did she really have that many odd, disappointing relationships with men, and was she in love with Mr. Tiffany? This is one of my least favorite books ever -- way too long with too many details wasted on how the stained glass was made and assembled vs. the actual characters.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Recommended

    Interesting historical fiction about the creation of the Tiffany lamps.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 9, 2011

    Dull

    Read this for my book club. This story was a disappointment, the plot kept going over the same ground until I lost interest.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 99 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)