JSTOR Archive [Internet]
Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago: Article about the display of the Jacobean Drawing Room from Urishay Castle
Michaelchurch Escley, Golden Valley
Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago (1907-1951), Volume 15, No. 2, February 1921
Publisher: The Art Institute of Chicago
Title: Opening of Buckingham Jacobean Room
The Jacobean Room, the first period room to be installed in the Chicago Art Institute, is a significant addition to the Institute’s permanent collections. Its furniture, ornamental ceiling and panelled oaken walls hung with portraits suggesting the people who lived in such surroundings, present a vivid picture of this important period in the history of art. The room with the paintings, which include portraits by Cranach, Maas, Ewart, and Porbus, is the gift of the late Clarence Buckingham, the late Miss Lucy Maud Buckingham and Miss Kate S. Buckingham in memory of their parents, Mr & Mrs E. Buckingham.
It is hoped that this is the beginning of a series of period rooms to be placed in the museum. Such rooms in which we recreate the spirit of the past are valuable in stimulating good taste in the community, as well as in affording suggestions to the designer.
This is a Drawing Room salvaged from Urishay Castle circa 1913 and sold by antique dealer Roberson of Knightsbridge Halls London to the department store Marshall Fields Limited of Chicago.
Kate Buckingham who acquired the room - presumably from Marshall Fields - and donated it to the Chicago Art Institute in 1921 was the sister of Clarence Buckingham, a wealthy Chicago businessman who died in August 1913. Starting out in his father’s grain elevator business, with the benefit of a multi-million dollar inheritance he later became a broker and a director of both the Corn Exchange National Bank and the Illinois Trust and Savings Company. He also served as president of the Northwestern Elevated Railroad Company, and was involved in insurance, steel and real estate. Clarence developed an interest in collecting artworks, and for more than a decade was a director of the Chicago Art Institute to whom he frequently loaned items from his personal collection. His sister evidently continued this tradition after his death and in 1925 she donated his entire collection to the Institute along with an endowment to maintain and expand it as the Clarence Buckingham Collection.
In 1961, David Mackey, architect for Mrs. Helen F. Spencer - another wealthy philanthropist - recommended it for the Spencer Wing of the new Baker University Library being built to house the Quayle Bible Collection in Baldwin City Kansas. It was duly acquired by her - presumably from the Chicago Art Institute - and installed in Kansas, where it can be seen today.
A range of photographs and documents relating to the Urishay Castle Drawing Room can be found in the Baker University Collection on this website.