Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Gilded Age (Part I)

I have always been interested in vintage, furniture, glassware, design, etc.  However, my trip with the Art Institute Study Group was overwhelming! 

The Nickerson Mansion (Driehaus Museum) at 40 E. Erie in Chicago, Illinois

A contrast of time with the columns of the nineteenth century with the skyscrapers surrounding this step back in time.

In 1883 Samuel Nickerson (who founded the First National Bank of Chicago) moved into a magnificent fireproof house build out of brick, iron and concrete.  It contains no plaster but seventeen different types of marble, alabaster, onyx, limestone, magnificent woods and brass.

Entrance to the "Marble Palace"

The living room furniture is original to the home.  The beveled mirrors that are inset in the moldings around the room were placed so that when sitting one could see the whole room.

It has had only two family owners, a business owner and some rental years.  The home is in wonderful condition but mostly due to the renovation that began in 2003 under the direction of Richard Driehaus a Chicago Entrepreneur and Philanthropist.  Completed in 2008 it opened as a museum to the gilded age with Mr. Driehaus' collections of Tiffany glass, artwork and furniture.

This is Mr. Driehaus' office right across the street from the museum, built in 1886 as the Ramsom Cable House.  It was his first renovation project and is a beautiful preserved building.

The wood floors are magnificent, each room in a different wood and a unique design.

The floors, the wainscoting, wallpapers and fabrics (Scalamandre) transport the visitor back to the gilded age.  The floors are all original but the wall coverings had to be replaced in the appropriate patterns of the time.

These lights are original to the home, one grouping had to be replaced and you could not tell the difference.  The home was electrified and was a combination of electric and gas lights.

The jeweled and leaded glass is everywhere!

Jeweled windows in the dining room
This is the only room where the wallpaper is original.  It is Lincrusta by Frederick Walton the inventor of Linoleum.

There are multiple fireplaces in the home all trimmed in beautiful tiles, mosaics and marquetry.

Many of the fireplaces have Tiffany fireplace screens in front of them.

It was common at this time to have tables in front of the fireplace flanked on either side with chairs and a settee.

This is the fireplace in the library and is thought to be the only one in the home that was ever used.  The fireplaces were in such great condition because the home was centrally heated, state of the art for 1883.

The dome was original to the home, but the second owner added the above fireplace and changed out plain glass for stained glass.  The whole dome had to be dismantled during the recent renovation to repair it and put it back together piece by piece.

The collection of Tiffany lamps and glass is extensive.

Tiffany floor lamp in the living room reflecting in the mirrors surrounding the room.

This floor lamp is a more subtle Tiffany in green glass.

This is a Tulip Tiffany hanging from a gold leaf ceiling.  Many times several hanging lights were made in the same design to put in long hallways or more than one room in a home.

Tiffany's Peacock Light

Tiffany Tulip
One of the first to be electrified and face downward, gas lights had to face up.

Tiffany "One of a Kind"
Executed in glass, brass and mother of pearl


Larry said...

Hi Eileen... this is truly marvelous! I saw the double Tiffany lamp towards the beginning and wondered if you would show more... love the curtain border shade and the peacock as well... thanks for sharing and I'll anxiously await your Part 2 in hopes for more Tiffany... the dome is spectacular as well as is the mosaic work! Larry

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Larry,

With each Tiffany I saw I thought how much you would have loved this trip. The Tiffany lamp you first saw is a single reflecting in the beveled mirrors around the room. Everything is very up close and personal, no restrictions except no flash on the cameras. Therefore, the photos are not quite as sharp as I would have liked.


Lona said...

How magnificent Eileen. The detailed woodwork and the stained glass is what I thing is so marvelous. I just cannot like foil wallpaper though. LOL! The lamps are so beautiful. What a lovely tour. Thanks for sharing.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Lona,

It was some house! I don't know why the wallpaper looks like foil because in person it was a soft and muted material look and feel. I was not allowed to use the flash so it kind of changed the look.


Becca's Dirt said...

I've got to pick up my chin. I'm in awe over this place. The architecture is stunning and in such good shape. The interior walls are beautiful with the wainscoting and the wallpapers. I can't believe someone actually lived in this place. The lamps - I am a lamp person - love lamps and these are so stunning. The last lamp - well I don't know what to say. I'll be back to look again. I almost feel like I visited this place in your photos.

Karen said...

Oh, Eileen, what a wonderful tour! Of course I loved the Tiffany lamps, too, how gorgeous. What a treasure and how wonderful they have preserved it. Love that dome!

Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Hi Eileen, Such amazing woodwork and stained glass. I love the dining room window in particular.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Becca,

One of the local reviews on Yelp did call it jaw dropping. I really need to revisit to take it all in.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Karen,

I thought of you and Larry when I saw all of the glass work.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Jennifer,

The glass jeweled windows were magnificant and all original to the house.


Jim Groble said...

Thanks for your comments. Your pics and posts are alwaysfun. jim

garden girl said...

How gorgeous! Chicago has so much amazing architecture. Thank you for the tour Eileen.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Jim,

Glad to see you are back!


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi GG,

Always fun to take a trip downtown but glad to come back to a quieter suburban lifestyle.