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Mrs. Jack: A Biography of Isabella Stewart Gardner Paperback – June 1, 1984


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Paperback, June 1, 1984
$54.80 $11.02
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Peter Weed (June 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0926637002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0926637009
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #772,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Barbara L. Thomson on May 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you are an art lover, live in the greater Boston area, or are planning on visiting soon, this book is a must-read. Not only was this one of the most fascinating women I have ever read about, but she and her husband together, moved in circles with the "shakers and movers" of their generation. All of the famous Bostonians you hear about in historical lore were a part of their lives. Henry L. Higginson, who started the BSO was married to Belle's college roommate. John Singer Sargeant, was one of her closest friends and painted her twice. They were related to the Lowell's the Peabody's and the list goes on. Her museum, in Boston, (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum) is one of the treasures of the art world. Her taste so impeccable that her museum was chosen for one of the most famous art robberies in recent years. The book is so well written that all will enjoy "living in the past" with the "Belle of Boston" from start to finish!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By P. Marino on December 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Living in Boston I felt it was my duty to learn as much as I could about the infamous/famous Isabella Stewart Gardner. This book proved to be the perfect source. A detailed look not only into Isabella's art collection, but also her life, the author fills the pages with stories that bring to light how Isabella became so famous. Many a times, I found myself smiling at the passages that highlighted Isabella's quirks and personality traits.

After reading the book, I went to the Gardner Museum and found I could easily remember all the paintings mentioned in the book due to the fascinating stories behind them.

Reading this book is like stepping back in time and exploring life with Isabella herself. I highly recommend reading it
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I wish I had known of this book *before* a recent visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The museum building itself is breathtaking when you walk in. And then you move from room to room and see so many of the works referred to in this biographical account of her life, her artist friends, and her collection activities. Now so many of the pieces have interesting backstories--I must go back to the museum!
The biography itself is fairly straighforward, but paired with a visit to the museum is quite a worthwhile package.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Magalini Sabina on August 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I bought this biography at the ISGM in the modern Centennial edition (2003) (1903 creation of the Museum). Written in 1965 by the famous biographer of many Bostonian families Louise Hall Tharp it represents an official biography of this incredible woman collector. Drawn mostly from material available in the 1950's and '60, when many people that had personally known Isabella were still alive, the book poses itself as a meticulous reconstruction of her life, habits, travels, relationships, posessions, houses, jewels, and works of art. Descriptions of her friends and protegees are detailed and Isabella's social, cultural and economical context are clearly identifiable. However, what is missing is a character study as we are used to in modern biographies, that requires a certain degree of inductive fantasy on the Author's behalf. Naturally, when the biography was written it was perfect and adeguate for its times. There were many things that could not be written about, or rather that it was better not to indulge in such as the homosexuality of many of Isabella's friends. More modern biographies have been written: "The Art of Scandal" by Douglass Shand-Tucci and "The Memory Palace of Isabella Stewart Gardner" by Patricia Vigderman, that also have their drawbacks, but that are livelier and have greater appeal to our present biographical tastes.
This book however remains a classic, expecially for the first part of Isabella's life, when her husband was still alive. We must not forget that Mrs. Tharp has written many biographies on the society of that period and is capable of weaving a closeknitted description of Beacon Hill residents and their world.
The Centennial Edition contains many photographs, all Isabella's portraits and reproductions of the ISGM and some of its works of art.
Even if dated, "Mrs. Jack" remains an indispensable cornerstone for the knowledge of Isabella Stewart Gardner's fascinating life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LukenLesley on May 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I visited the Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum knowing nothing about Mrs.Jack. Upon leaving I found myself thinking about the museum, the experience left me feeling that Mrs. Jack was trying to tell a story about her extravigent life. I wanted to learn more instantly. As I read Mrs. Jack: A Biography of Isabelle Stewart Gardner I fell in love with this intersting womans life. I could hardly peel myself away from the book because it not only confermed things that the museum left me feeling about Mrs. Jack, but also gave me the perspective of the life of a wealthy woman of the nineteenth centery and how she spent her time and money. I have now have done some more research on Mrs. Jack and have found no copy's of this book in the museum gift shop. It makes me wonder if it's because Mrs. Jack went to great lengths to make sure that certain parts of her personal life were left private. Could this be, because this book is so eye opening into the personal life of Mrs.Jack. Thus the reason for the muesum not selling the book. See what the museum and this book has done to me making me speculate. It's all in good fun! Enjoy.
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