Synopses & Reviews
An American Palace: Chicago’s Samuel M. Nickerson House, explores the rich and varied history of one of Chicago’s grandest Gilded Age residences. Commissioned by Chicago banker Samuel M. Nickerson in 1879, the house was designed by the architectural firm Burling and Whitehouse of Chicago and finished in 1883, during a time of unprecedented economic growth in the Midwest between the end of the Civil War and the outbreak of World War I.Following a long and checkered history of both private and institutional ownership, the property was established as a museum in 2003 by Chicago philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus and underwent a meticulous and extensive renovation before opening to the public in 2008. In addition to featuring exceptionally restored woodwork, stained glass, and tiling, the museum also holds a diverse collection of decorative and fine arts from the period between 1880 and 1920, including one of the country’s leading private collections of works by preeminent American designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. Today the Driehaus Museum offers visitors an opportunity to experience first-hand the prevailing design philosophies of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.Beautifully illustrated, this volume provides a comprehensive history and stunning photographic tour of the Samuel M. Nickerson house while firmly situating it within Chicago’s rich legacy of architectural and interior design.
“Saving the ornate Samuel M. Nickerson House has given a new generation the chance to experience the extraordinary architectural legacy of Americas Gilded Age. This book is the next best thing to exploring the mansion and its fabulous collection of decorative arts in person, and it is a wonderful celebration of the home and the skillful restoration that brought it back to its original glory.” Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO, National Trust for Historic Preservation
About the Author
David Bagnall served as director and curator of the Richard H. Driehaus Museum. Bagnall is an art historian and a graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois with his wife and daughter.