Monday, April 16, 2012

Clara and Mr. Tiffany


Clara and Mr. Tiffany is another terrific read from Susan Vreeland. Vreeland does a wonderful job of giving lots of information about a historical period and the making of stained glass windows and lamps, all the while telling a compelling story. 

I recommended this book to some folks in my writing class who were guilty of the dreaded info dump syndrome. It's not easy to work lots of factual information into a story but Vreeland accomplishes the task seamlessly.  
 
Apart from being a very good story, Clara and Mr. Tiffany aroused in me a lust for a Tiffany reproduction wisteria lamp.  We already have a dragonfly one and it was quite modestly priced. 

So I went looking . . . and found some kind of not-very-good ones and then this beauty above. And only $120 dollars!  Not inconsiderable but for such a gorgeous piece of work... and how beautiful it would be on the marble-topped chest in our bedroom. . .

Then I looked again. The lamp actually cost $7,200. 

 Gasp. 

 The $120 was for shipping . . .

Time to go down to the pond and enjoy the real wisteria. . .
 
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18 comments:

Ms. A said...

Oh, my... that's way to rich for my blood. The real thing looks really amazing and you could frame one of your shots and put a spotlight on it and have wisteria all day long... with much less expense.

Martin said...

A little moment of wisteria hysteria, there, Vicki.

Victoria said...

Vicki, I read "Clara and Mr. Tiffany" last year and loved it.

I nearly choked when I read the price of that lamp!! Anyway, who needs a lamp like that when you've got so much of the real thing? Not only does it look like I imagine Heaven does where you live, I bet it smells like it, too.

Thérèse said...

A good read near the "real wisteria" is priceless...

Brian Miller said...

haha yeah not cheap at all...i do like the dragonfly one....will have to check out these books...

Jules said...

I've done that before...the reality check is a bit harsh!!!!! Still giggling though!

Pat in east TN said...

Wow, I'm glad you re-checked the price before hitting the "buy now" button! A beautiful lamp, for sure, as is your dragonfly one.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I've enjoyed Susan Vreeland's other books, but I've yet to read this one.

I would much rather have your real wisteria than a lamp. Wisteria was one of my favorite flowers as a child because I liked the color.
Sam

Barbara Rogers said...

As they say these days...ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing) though I don't always know what those silly letters stand for. That was close. You've obviously got good taste. Real Wisteria is the priceless treasure.

NCmountainwoman said...

I read the book after seeing the Tiffany exhibit at the Biltmore Estate. I really liked it.

I had a similar shock several years ago when I was purchasing a watch for my husband. I saw a nice one for $350. When the clerk showed it to me I looked at the tag more closely...it was $3,500. Needless to say I looked at others instead.

Deanna said...

A mere $720? I read Clara and Mr. Tiffany. One of my favorites! Your beautiful Wisteria is the real deal.

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

Even $120 is a lot for us, since we always get a lot of cat breakage of lamps. Either it's clumsy Stevie just being himself or Molly getting scared by a thunderstorm. Either way, we seem to go through a lot of glass shades and chimneys.

JudyB said...

As someone who dabbles with stained glass, I’d have to say that $7,500 isn’t that unreasonable of a price for a good reproduction, made by a US artist, wisteria lamp. If I were going to make one myself, I’d first need to buy the pattern and form (drafted from an original Tiffany lamp, $200), cast brass crown and branch set ($600), glass ($15 to $50 a square foot for good art glass), copper foil tape and solder. That reproduction tree trunk lamp base is $950. Before I’ve even started constructing the lamp I’d have spent $2,500 in supplies and materials.

Then there are 1,945 pieces in the wisteria pattern. That’s 1,945 pieces to cut, grind, wrap in copper foil and solder together. Hours and hours and days of right fiddly work. I’d be working at about minimum wage.

That said, I’m not going to be buying or making a wisteria lamp. May I visit your pond?

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks, JudyB, for putting the price in perspective. The book made a point of how labor-intensive this particular lamp was and that it was strictly a luxury item.

Having made my share of quilts, I know that it's almost impossible to charge what they're really worth and even make minimum wage. Heck, for many of us, the same is true of writing books . . .

Friko said...

Yes well, the real Tiffany lamp would be beyond my means too. A long way beyond my means.

I admit, it's a beauty. But so's the slightly more impermanent one by the pond.

Darla said...

Loved this post and how you tied in all the facets from book to wish-lamp to real wisteria... quite fun. :-)

jennyfreckles said...

Both beautiful - but at least the real stuff comes free!

Carolyn said...

Saw the Tiffany exhibition at Biltmore last summer. I'd always admired pictures of his lamps, but seeing them in person was eye-opening. They were exquisitely beautiful. I'd heard about this book but some of the reviews made it sound tedious. Maybe I'll give it a chance now.