Who IS the Woman Behind Tiffany Lamps?
By [http://EzineArticles.com/expert/P._Schroeder/733419]P. Schroeder
How often have you heard the expression "the women behind the man?" Often times behind the successful career of a man is a woman pouring into that man creative genius, ideas, time and inspiration. Unfortunately, all too often that woman goes unrecognized and unaccredited for the tireless work she has contributed while he is in the limelight and she in the shadows. No where can that be more true than in the career of Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1848-1933, and Clara Driscoll, 1861-1944.
Louis C. Tiffany is the founder of Tiffany Lamps and Stained Glass Windows. It was his original design of lamps being created from discarded stained glass from large windows he had created and designed. But it wasn't until Clara Driscoll, who went to work for Mr. Tiffany around 1988, that the most stunning and artistic lamps were created under her direction.
Clara Driscoll was born Clara Pierce Wolcott, 1861 in Tallmadge, Ohio. Clara and her three sisters were bright and ambitious. After their father died, Clara was 12; her mother encouraged her daughters to excel and to pursue higher education. Clara excelled in art and design and attended design school in Cleveland. She then moved to New York in search of better opportunities to use her skills. She attended the Metropolitan Museum Art School and from there was employed by Tiffany Studios in 1988 and remained at Tiffany for 20 years.
Very little is known of Clara's activities and duties in her early years at Tiffany, but after a series of events, Mr. Tiffany put Clara in charge over the Women's Glass Department. The department had formed out of a response that the Lead Glaziers and Glass Cutting Union had gone on strike. The male only union had forced them to begin hiring young women students from the art schools.
This new direction had proved to be profitable. The women were much more adept at handling the glass, more adept at the detailed work required to manufacture the lamps. It was in this position that Clara's designs became realities. It was here she designed the now famous Dragonfly Lamp. In one instance Mr. Tiffany attributed this design to Clara when it was on display at the Paris World's Fair in 1900. She worked closely with Mr. Tiffany, as both were inspired by a love of nature and appreciation of fine material.
Much of Clara's influence and design's was unknown until as recently as 2005 when Martin Eidelberg, professor emeritus of art history at Rutgers University, was approached by a man who claimed to be a descendant of Ms. Driscoll. In his possession were letters written by Clara to her family around the turn of the 20th century. Also, about this same time, independent scholar Nina Gray, who was working on a Tiffany book of her own, went to Queen's Historical Society and found a treasure chest of numerous letters written by Driscoll to her sisters and mother while she was at the studio.
Through a series of co-incidental events, Eidelberg and Gray's paths crossed. Eidelberg invited Gray to dinner where they began to pull resources together and compare notes. They each had established and realized that it was Clara Driscoll and her "girls" that had designed and made the most prized and stunning lamps. Driscoll attributed the renowned Wisteria shade to herself as the designer, "all of which goes down to my credit, it being my design" in a letter dated March 16, 1905.
Through her letters we gain much insight into her life and influence as the head designer at Tiffany Studios. We begin see the real mastermind behind the stunning designs and valuable lamps that are common in the reproductions of today.
Pat Schroeder is the owner of TiffanyLampsMarket.com. One of a kind, hand crafted, and hand cut, high heat hand soldered stained glass lamps. No higher quality, factory fresh Tiffany Style Lamp available. Visit [http://www.TiffanyLampsMarket.com] for all your Tiffany Style Lamp needs. Free shipping and discounted pricing.
Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Who-IS-the-Woman-Behind-Tiffany-Lamps?&id=4892882] Who IS the Woman Behind Tiffany Lamps?