Clara hired a piano teacher. In a letter to her parents she said, “His slender fingers fascinated me from the first time I saw him play. "
As soon as Clara disappeared, her husband ordered all likenesses of her taken down from the walls of the mansion and forbade her name to be uttered by anyone.
It was 1829 when Clara, then 29, sat for her family portrait. Her eyes were dreamy, fawn-like, and unruly ringlets dangled along the sides of her face. Only her full, pouty lips hinted at her bottled-up determination and unconventional spiritedness. She was perched on the arm of a divan, ready to sprint away.
Clara was the daughter of Baron and Baroness von Thielau who had brought up their seven children on a prosperous estate in the province of Silesia in the Kingdom of Prussia, to be independent, giving them free run of the bountiful grounds and woods surrounding their impressive manor. All members of the family rode horses, the women sidesaddle in those days. The children were schooled by an English nanny, a French tutor, and music teachers. As a teena…