"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 Louis Comfort Tiffany. Today the Driehaus Museum offers visitors an opportunity to experience firsthand 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.
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.