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
April 17, 2014
The WGN Morning News features the Driehaus Museum
The WGN Morning News featured the Driehaus Museum on Tuesday, April 15. Read more
April 11, 2014
The Illinois and Chicago Departments of Transportation need your help to redefine North Lake Shore Drive
The citizens of Chicago and all regional users have the chance to provide input on they use the Drive and how it can meet travel demands of all users in the corridor. Read more
Spring Fever with John Moulder
Friday, May 2
Put some spring in your step and celebrate the season with popular Chicago guitarist and composer John Moulder. Read more
In the Secret Garden - 4th Annual Mother's Day Tea
Sunday, May 11
This year, you'll be transported to a magical garden for the Driehaus Museum’s popular Mother’s Day Tea. Read more
One Day Excursion: The Historic Hegeler Carus Mansion
Saturday, May 31 and Wednesday, June 4
Enjoy a fascinating day trip to La Salle, Illinois to experience the magnificent Hegler Carus mansion and the grandeur of a bygone era. Led by art historian Rolf Achilles, you’ll explore a unique space designed by August Fiedler that remains virtually unaltered since its completion more than a century ago. Read more
Cool Jazz on a Hot Summer Night
Wednesday, June 11
Enjoy an entertaining evening with the Chicago Jazz Caravan, an ensemble featuring some of Chicago's most seasoned Jazz musicians, as they delight your senses. Read more