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Noon At Tiffany’s March 5, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Books & Movies, Fiction.
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Noon at Tiffany’s, by Echo Heron, gives readers a chance to experience life in New York City at the turn of the last century ~ when horse drawn carriages gave way to horseless carriages and women traded bustles for bicycles.

Through round robin letters written to and from Clara Wolcott (Driscoll Booth) between 1888 to 1941, we see the challenges faced by young women who wanted more from life than marriage and motherhood.

Echo Heron blends fact and fiction to highlight the talented designer and artisans who created unique handmade Tiffany lamps during the Art Nouveau period.

Although Louis Comfort Tiffany claimed the designs as his own, history has revealed Clara Wolcott Driscoll to be the master designer behind the most creative and valuable leaded glass lamps produced by Tiffany Studios.

As one of the highest paid women of her era, Clara Driscoll labored long hours in Tiffany’s studios to design and create gorgeous stained glass lamps featuring Daffodils and stained glass pendants featuring incandescent Dragonflies:

Clara Driscoll in a workroom with another Tiffany employee (1901)
Source: Wikipedia (in Public Domain)

Clara’s story, told through her letters, reveals the monumental arrogance of Louis Comfort Tiffany and her spirited challenges to that arrogance.

Determined to live life without societal shackles, Clara sheds convention, dons a bicycle suit (with no corset!), and learns to ride.  During summer weekends at the Jersey Shore in Point Pleasant, she learns to swim and sail~ pursuits not embraced by many women of the day.

You go, girl!

From the back cover of Noon at Tiffany’s:

In the summer of 1888, Clara Wolcott, a daring young artist from Ohio, walked into Louis Tiffany’s Manhattan office to interview for a job as a designer.  For the next 21 years, her pivotal role in his multi-million dollar empire remained one of Tiffany’s most closely guarded secrets ~ a secret that when revealed 118 years later sent the International Art World into a tailspin.

Basing her story on a recently discovered cache of letters written between 1888 and 1944, New York Times bestselling author Echo Heron artfully blends fact with fiction to draw the reader into the remarkable life of one of America’s most prolific and extraordinary artists:  Clara Wolcott Driscoll, the hidden genius behind the iconic Tiffany lamps.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Comments»

1. theonlycin - March 5, 2013

Oooh, that looks like a book I’d enjoy!

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

I enjoyed it ~ the time period overlaps my great aunt and grandmother’s arrival in NYC from Scotland. And we spent many summer days on the beach at Point Pleasant.

It’s a bit like Downton Abbey . . . seeing the class divides among those who lived on this side of the pond.

2. Crowing Crone Joss - March 5, 2013

Must add this to my wish list on amazon! Sounds like a great read about a delightful woman!

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

Wonderful blend of fact and fiction . . . a life filled with challenges and rewards. I enjoyed it much more than anticipated.

3. colonialist - March 5, 2013

I enjoyed breakfast there – now try lunch as well? 🙂

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

Exactly! Clara wrote many letters during her lunch break . . . and dated them “Noon at Tiffany’s.”.

4. ericjbaker - March 5, 2013

No corset! That hussy!

Sounds like a great read. Thanks for telling us about it.

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

With your interest in Art, History, Fashion, and Hussies . . . it might make for an enjoyable read. 😉

ericjbaker - March 5, 2013

haha! Good one.

5. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen - March 5, 2013

Hmmm.. so is she now recognized as the true artist/designer? I think those lamps should be renamed then, don’t you? It only seems fair! I enjoyed this and am between books, it’s nice to have one that is highly recommended. xx

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

It appears that “those in the know” now know that Clara came up with the engaging designs . . . while Tiffany insisted on claiming the credit. It would serve him right if the lamps became known as Driscoll Lamps. 😀

The story’s turn of the century NYC backdrop makes for an engaging read, sad at times, uplifting and heart-warming at others.

Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen - March 5, 2013

Driscoll’s Lamps.. now that has a ring to it!

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

When a competitor attempted to sell one of her designs with the Stillwell stamp instead of her mark, she grabbed the lamp and dropped it out the window, where it exploded on impact.

She was feisty! 😀

Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen - March 5, 2013

Awesome!!

6. sweetdaysundertheoaks - March 5, 2013

The dragonflies! That is a beautiful pendant. The book sounds good Nancy. I just finished a book so I am ready!

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

I love the dragonfly lamp shade ~ those colors WOW me!

7. Andra Watkins - March 5, 2013

Sounds like a perfect book for me, Nancy. Thanks for profiling it.

nrhatch - March 5, 2013

Echo Heron spoke at the Island Library a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t get to attend, but the newspaper article described this book in such a way that I had to “have a peek.”

After taking a quick peek, I inhaled it in two gulps! 😀

8. Three Well Beings - March 6, 2013

I am sure I’d enjoy this book very much. I’d love to read how she navigated being the creative inspiration and then seeing Tiffany take all the credit. I love the title of the book! I’m so glad you’ve mentioned this title, Nancy. I have an ever-growing Amazon wishlist, but I live in hope of one day reading each one! 🙂

nrhatch - March 6, 2013

I expect you’d love the interplay between history and her story, Debra. Clara played her cards well. 😀

9. sufilight - March 6, 2013

Sounds like an enjoyable book to read! Like Debra, my wish list is growing. I love Tiffany lamps, enjoy looking at the design and colors.

nrhatch - March 6, 2013

Since I rarely read a novel more than once, I borrowed it from the Island Library . . . definitely worth the price of admission. 😉

10. A Blog's Life - March 6, 2013

Something I would enjoy reading, but a book written in that era usually expects some kind of tragedy, which I’m not fond of . . . I can cry so easily 😛

nrhatch - March 6, 2013

The book was written/published last year. It has some sad bits when people die or move away. That’s life.

11. Perfecting Motherhood - March 7, 2013

OK, that looks really interesting but I’m intrigued by the fiction part. How do you know what’s real and what’s made up?

nrhatch - March 7, 2013

I suspect we could ask the same about any autobiography . . . since our memories are fallible and our egos insatiable. 😉

In this case, the letters (I believe) are “fact” and the story woven about them is fiction based on that factual backdrop. In other words, much of the dialogue comes from the author imaginings rather than from a factual transcript.

Anyone who wishes to be more precise about the dividing line, would be compelled to do a bit more reading on Clara and her life. She’s gained some fame in the past decade. 😉

Perfecting Motherhood - March 7, 2013

Oh, that makes sense. It’s fascinating to realize how many talented people have lived in the shadows of a famous person.

nrhatch - March 7, 2013

It’s an interesting book and a great reminder of how far we’ve come with women’s rights.

12. spilledinkguy - March 7, 2013

Oooo… the late 1800’s… (I sure wish I could go back in time and stock-up on a bunch of camera lenses from that era)
sounds fascinating!
🙂

nrhatch - March 7, 2013

That would be an interesting bit of time travel, for sure. 😀

13. jannatwrites - March 8, 2013

This looks like a great read. I’ve added it to my wish list. Mother’s Day isn’t that far away 🙂 I’ve always liked Tiffany style lamps…what a jerk for taking credit for her designs!

nrhatch - March 8, 2013

Echo Heron is NOT a fan of Louis Comfort Tiffany . . . she paints him in dark colors, indeed. And, still, we sympathize with him for the angst his father put him through as a child with a stutter who grew up wanting to PROVE something to the world.

14. “Wanna Hang Out?” | Spirit Lights The Way - March 11, 2013

[…] Noon At Tiffany’s, Clara lived in a boardinghouse with an adopted family.  In the evenings, the group congregated in […]

15. Booksphotographsandartwork - March 12, 2013

I can’t wait to read this, it sounds wonderful. Thanks for bringing to our attention.

nrhatch - March 12, 2013

Oh, good! I enjoyed the blend of fact and fiction . . . it made the scenes come alive.

16. Linda Alexander - August 30, 2013

Clara was my 4th cousin and I have given 40 presentations about her and it never gets old. When you think of Louis Comfort Tiffany, you think of lamps – and if you think about the lamps, you must think about Clara. Giving her props 100 years after she last left Tiffany Studios. Thanks, Echo, for making her come alive! Awesome writing – Linda Alexander/Stow,OH

nrhatch - August 31, 2013

Hi Linda. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on your 4th cousin. Sounds like you enjoyed Echo’s book too. I found it absorbing.


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