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Clara and Mr. Tiffany

January 23, 2011

 This book is for fans of historical fiction, and for lovers of Tiffany style stained glass. I enjoyed reading and discussing Susan Vreeland’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, about the creation of a Renoir painting, and had high hopes for Clara & Mr. Tiffany. In New York City in the 1890s and early 1900s, Clara Driscoll worked in the glass studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany. She supervised the Women’s Department, and came up with the idea and designs for Tiffany’s leaded glass lamp shades inspired by nature. I especially liked the scenes in the glass studio, and train and bicycle trips in New York City and the New Jersey coast with friends from her boardinghouse. For a while I thought that Vreeland put too much drama into Clara’s personal story, until I remembered that Clara was real and the drama comes directly from her letters. Career women and girls in this time period had difficult choices, such as having to leave work to get married, and Vreeland describes it well. More about Clara and the Tiffany studios, including many photos, can be found on the author’s website.

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