bldg. 51 museum acquires drummond-designed avery coonley remodel playhouse leaded glass windows

the bldg. 51 museum recently secured through auction a pair of original and amazingly intact 1918-1919 william e. drummond-designed interior residential leaded glass windows accentuated with richly colored and festive flashed glass rectangles and squares.

the strongly geometric windows were likely fabricated by the linden glass works, chicago, ills., but further research is needed to pinpoint the exact fabricator.

the long and narrow windows are believed to be from an addition to frank lloyd wright's avery coonley playhouse (completed in 1912) when it was converted to a residence in 1918-1919. the leaded glass windows feature rectilinear grids accentuated with single-sided flashed glass squares and rectangles. images of the windows courtesy of eric j. nordstrom and the bldg. 51 museum archive.


for more on william e. drummond see below:

william eugene Drummond was born in newark, new jersey, the son of carpenter and cabinet maker eugene drummond and his wife ida marietta lozie. ]the family relocated from newark to chicago in 1886, where they settled on the west side of chicago

william drummond was admitted to the university of illinois school of architecture in 1899 and obtained his architect’s license in 1901. drummond began by working in chicago in the firm of architect louis sullivan. several months later, he went to work for sullivan’s former chief draftsman frank lloyd wright. drummond would serve as the chief draftsman for several well-known wright’s commissions, including the home of edwin and mamah borthwick cheney in oak park, the frederick robie house in chicago, the susan lawrence dana house in springfield, il, and the larkin company administration building in buffalo.

in the years 1901–1905 he worked for wright part-time while also working full-time for richard e. schmidt (1901–1902) and daniel h. burnham (1903–1905). drummond returned to full-time employment with wright from 1905 to 1909, when disagreement about pay caused him to leave wright’s studio. drummond was a key figure in wright’s studio during its most productive prairie years. as wright’s son, john, relates:

“william drummond, francis barry byrne, walter burley griffin, albert mcarthur (albert chase mcarthur), marion mahony, isabel roberts and george willis were the draftsmen. five men, two women. they wore flowing ties, and smocks suitable to the realm. the men wore their hair like papa, all except albert, he didn’t have enough hair. they worshiped papa! papa liked them! i know that each one of them was then making valuable contributions to the pioneering of the modern american architecture for which my father gets the full glory, headaches and recognition today!”

upon parting ways with wright, drummond went into private practice, even though he had already undertaken his first commission in 1908, the first congregational church of austin. in 1912 he went into partnership with louis guenzel (1860–1956), who had been a draftsman for dankmar adler and louis sullivan. isabel roberts worked for guenzel and drummond for about a year. the partnership dissolved just after the start of world war i, in 1915.

drummond continued his independent practice thereafter, designing churches, residences and small commercial buildings in the prairie style, his work in the pure prairie idiom culminating in the delightfully elegant brookfield kindergarten (also known as the hilly house) of 1920 in brookfield, illinois.

the prevailing view of his later career is that, as the public taste changed during the 1920s, drummond’s work bore fewer of the hallmarks of the prairie school. instead, his work was sometimes characterized by english cottage and tudor elements, many in river forest, typified by the edward w. scott residence (1928) with its massive chimney, steeply pitched gables and paired multi-story bay window towers, and by the river forest public library (1928–1930).

william drummond took part in the planning commission of river forest throughout the 1920s and 1930s, while also remodeling several of wright's designs. shortly before his death on september 13, 1948, drummond published a book detailing a plan to redesign the united states capitol.

further reading:

Leave a Reply

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.