Clara and Mr. Tiffany
By Susan Vreeland
Random House, 2011. 405 pgs. Historical Fiction
Clara Driscoll lived during an exciting and turbulent time; especially if you were a woman in the workforce. Following a brief marriage to an older man, the young widow returned to work at the studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany, a respected artist and eventual heir of the famous Tiffany and Co. jewelry company. She managed his department of unmarried women building stained glass windows and eventually helped to invent and design the beautiful Tiffany lamps crafted from stained glass. Her story vividly portrays how hard women in the early 1900s fought to secure a place in both the arts and in the corporate world.
Vreeland brings art to life in her fiction. Her descriptions of the masterpieces created in glass cannot help but fascinate readers. As with much historical fiction, the best part is that it is based on actual facts. Clara’s unrecognized contributions to such a famous art form is a tragedy. And while in life she never received credit for her gifts or skills, this novelization of her efforts and courage is inspiring. A good choice for art and historical fiction fans.