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Major Davenport Mystery Solved

 
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 2213
Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 9:42 pm    Post subject: Major Davenport Mystery Solved Reply with quote

Today I discovered a piece of what appears to be the original 1901 plaster stucco for the Davenport House. This was the last unknown exterior and interior finish on the house. What a wonderful discovery. I was helping the carpenters install a piece of plywood roof sheathing where the original roof framing was removed in 1931, when I saw piece of the original stucco. It was covered up in 1931 when the awful alterations were made to the original roof construction. I will have the piece tested for material composition and color. The original plaster stucco appears to have integral color that was a warm limestone color. It appeared to have been painted with a deeper beige color. Prior to this we have been looking everywhere on the exterior for a piece of the original plaster stucco. We had identified the original lime plaster base coat, but we could not find an example of the finish coat. We were going to match the 1931 finish coat which was a yellow ochre color. This was all that we had.



Another discovery this week was that one of the remaining wall sconce interior light fixtures that we thought dated to the 20's actually appears to be original to 1901. This will receive further research.



Another piece of the puzzle will be revisited. We hired a furniture consultant who analyzed the stained poplar wood trim. That was concluded six months ago. While reading a book on craftsman furniture I ran across photographs of various species of fumed wood. The Davenport poplar trim looks similar. I am going to have the wood tested again to see if it was fumed originally.



This has been a great week for Davenport research. I am excited about the fidelity to the original 1901 construction that we are in the process of achieving.
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Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 1388

PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul, did the house have "off the shelf" wall sconces? I'd assume it would be clear if they were by Wright.
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 2213
Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding the wall sconces, we have conflicting evidence. Frank Lloyd Wright's close out documents list a custom lighting manufacturer in Chicago as being a supplier. The one wall sconce that we have is generic. It has to be investigated further.
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Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16282
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a wonderful journey -- to the truth. I commend you. . .



SDR
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outside in



Joined: 29 Jul 2006
Posts: 1145

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:19 pm    Post subject: wall sconces - 1900 Reply with quote

Wright probably specified Willy Lau as the manufacturer of the Light Fixtures. At his Art Institute show he listed the contributing artists in his early works, and Mr. Lau's name is attributed with the wall sconces for the Bradley and Hickox Houses in Kankakee, which is about the same time as Davenport.
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 2213
Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't looked at the close out documents in a while, however I believe that the Davenport fixtures were made by F. W. Wilmarth Co. I was told that they made custom brass light fixtures at the turn of the century.



This is what I know of FLW Prairie Wall Sconces. The Dana Thomas has exquisite, intricate design with both electric and gas/electric versions. The next versions have square bases. The 1901 version has a cast brass stepped base with square tube projection and a cast brass cap. The Heurtley House has this type of fixture. A larger version of this is found at the Ward Willets House. Tomek has a fixture with a gas candle on top and an electric bulb below. The most common Prairie Wall Sconce has a square wood base with brass angle trim edges and an attached brass tube. This fixture was made by the W. B. Brown Company of Huntington and later Bluffton, Indiana. http://wchs-museum.org/webdoc12.htm The Mrs. Thomas Gale House and many other FLW Prairie Houses starting about 1902 have this fixture.
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Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn


Last edited by pharding on Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 2213
Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to the FLW close out documents, the light fixtures were provided by T.W. Wilmarth Co. I have an ad for the company. They designed and manufactured light fixtures and floor lamps, including lighting fixtures for the Indiana Theater in Indianapolis. Their address was 229 Huron Street in Chicago.
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Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn
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