A Real Tiffany Dome0 comments
Is it a Tiffany?
As my tour group and I, necks craned, watch sunlight streaming through the colorful stained glass in the Driehaus Museum sculpture gallery’s dome, this is one of the few times in the Museum that I must answer: “Nope.”
Our glass dome, which features four trees forming an autumnal canopy against the sky, was installed during the George Washington Maher redesign of the gallery in 1900, commissioned by the mansion’s second owner, Lucius G. Fisher. It is attributed to Giannini & Hilgart, an art glass design firm associated with the Prairie School.
So I usually tell the group, especially the out-of-towners, to head south and visit the Chicago Cultural Center after touring the Museum. There they can see not only a Louis C. Tiffany art glass dome, but the world’s largest Louis C. Tiffany art glass dome.
The dome, spanning Preston Bradley Hall with a diameter of 38 feet, commands all attention despite the opulence—imported marbles inset with mosaics of mother of pearl, Favrile glass, and colored stone—of the room beneath it. Within its cast iron frame, there are 30,000 pieces of Tiffany glass, most of them arranged in intricate, turquoise-hued fish scale patterns. Those in the center converge to form signs of the zodiac.
I recently downloaded the Chicago walking tour from the Poetry Foundation to my iPod, and it starts you beneath this very dome in Preston Bradley Hall before leading you down to the Art Institute, the Fine Arts Building, and the Harold Washington Public Library. I listened to Carl Sandburg reading from “The Windy City” (“I will die as many times/as you make me over again,/says the city to the people…I am stone and steel of your sleeping numbers;/I remember all you forget./I will die as many times as you make me over again.”) while staring up at the simple, repetitive fish scales in the jewel-like glass.
The Tiffany dome underwent a restoration that was completed in 2008 (in fact, the same year the Driehaus Museum opened). If you like those epic tales of restoration and have already perused our slideshows, Explore Chicago has a detailed account of prepping, removing, restoring, and reinstalling the stained glass. The project was tackled by Botti Studio of Architectural Arts, Inc., the same Evanston-based firm that undertook the Driehaus Museum’s restoration of the Giannini & Hilgart dome. See here for the full story.
—Lindsey Howald Patton
July 20, 2016
Chicago Tribune's Rick Kogan Reviews With a Wink and Nod: Cartoonists of the Gilded Age
"The show is delightful and spirited and one neatly embellished by two companion exhibits: "Gilded Age Luxury," which features 15 objects drawn from the Driehaus Collection, a gathering of small luxury goods from the period; and "Women of Influence: Chicago's Leading Ladies," with nearly 20 historical images highlighting influential local women of the era." -Kogan Read more
June 08, 2016
Kunstkammer museum now open in Australia, filled with classic porcelain, clocks, textiles and painting
A major new museum housing one of Australia’s largest private collections made up of more than 3,000 decorative arts objects opened in Adelaide this month. Read more
Lasting Legacies 2016
Saturdays, May 14 through October 15
A unique walking tour illustrating seven civic-minded entrepreneurial women who led fascinating lives in the prestigious neighborhood of McCormickville. Read more
Mansions and Millionaires 2016
Saturdays, May 14 through October 15
Spend an afternoon exploring the rich and varied history of Chicago’s River North district, a neighborhood formerly known as McCormickville. Read more