The Richard H. Driehaus Museum explores the art, architecture, and design of the late 19th century to the present. Its permanent collection and temporary exhibitions are presented in an immersive experience within the restored Nickerson Mansion, completed in 1883. Vibrant educational and cultural programs, as well as exhibitions, place the Gilded Age in context and illuminate the history, culture and urban fabric of Chicago. Photo by Alexander Vertikoff, 2014.
The Chicago Cultural Center, once the Chicago Public Library, houses the largest Tiffany stained-glass dome in the world. Preston Bradley Hall, located on the third floor of the Cultural Center, features a 38-foot-diameter dome designed by Tiffany mosaicist Jacob Adolphus Holzer. Holzer’s Design for Chancel Christ Church, Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, ca. 1889 is currently on display in the Driehaus Museum’s exhibition Eternal Light: The Sacred Stained-Glass Windows of Louis Comfort Tiffany. (Stop 5 on Chicago’s Tiffany Trail)
The body of the dome has approximately thirty-thousand pieces of favrile glass arranged in a fish-scale pattern while the oculus, or center, of the dome displays the twelve signs of the zodiac. Originally sunlit, a protective outer dome was built in the 1930s.
Today, thanks to a 2008 restoration project, the dome is again naturally lit and restored to its former glory. Holzer is also responsible for the intricate mosaics found below the dome and throughout the building. As the former Chicago Public Library’s General Delivery Room, it is fitting that these mosaics feature 15th century printers’ marks as well as quotations in Greek, Chinese, Arabic, Egyptian hieroglyphics, Hebrew, Italian, German, French, Latin, and Spanish.
Additionally, the lighting fixtures, wall sconces and chandeliers were also made by the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, which include the earliest examples of Tiffany copper-foiled lamps. Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company also designed the neo-Renaissance style mosaics for the G.A.R. Memorial Hall in the north wing of the Cultural Center. Unsurprisingly, Preston Bradley Hall is also one of the most popular places in the city to get married.
Mon-Fri. 10-7, Saturday & Sunday 10-5, Free.
Cover photo credit: Nikreates / Alamy Stock Photo