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