Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Tiffany Girls

 Clara Driscoll's Dragonfly Lamp
Clara won a bronze medal for this lamp at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900.

Did you know that many of the Tiffany lamps and windows were actually created by women? Or that the Tiffany company was not just one large company that produced and sold jewelry and stained glass mosaics? I would have only been able to tell you the Louis Comfort Tiffany name before I discovered Clara and Mr. Tiffany .

I learned many tidbits as I read listened to Susan Vreeland's just published book, Clara and Mr. Tiffany. If you enjoy novels based on historical references, especially art, this book fits the bill.

Clara Driscoll, head women's artist at the Louis Comfort Tiffany Studio, is the subject of the book. We are taken along the path of the younger years of her adult life, based on her recently discovered letters. 

She started out as a glass cutter and eventually reached the status of a designer. She was actively involved in bringing to production the renowned Tiffany mosaic lamps, one of which is above.

Summer Panel from the four Seasons Window, c. 1899-1900

The novel also touched upon the social issues of the day, including women's rights, the challenges of the new immigrant population and trade unions.

What I enjoyed most about the book was learning about the creation of the beautiful Tiffany mosaics from he viewpoint of the artisan. The pure joy they had in selecting the glass colors, the intricacies of bringing nature to life via the medium of glass.    

Hanging Globe, c.1905

Vase, c.1909

Closeup view of the Mosaic Panel with Sulpher-Crested Cockatoos, 1908

I have such admiration for those who came before us. We are humbled every day by them. 

**Update: There is an extraordinary opportunity to view many of Clara Driscoll's designs at a special exhibit of Tiffany stained glass lamps at the Biltmore from July 1, 2011 to January 31, 2012. More info and photos here


  1. How wonderful to have design talent that lasts through generations.
    Have a great weekend

  2. Sounds like a book to suss out for sure!

  3. Isn't it interesting when we pick up a good book like this? I love looking into creative rich!



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