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Fireplace Surround

A work made of oak and glazed earthenware.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oak and glazed earthenware.




Designed by George Washington Maher
American, 1864–1926
Made by Louis J. Millet
American, 1855–1923

About this artwork

Prairie School architect George Washington Maher worked for Joseph Lyman Silsbee before striking out on his own. During this period Maher developed a system of design that he called the “motif rhythm theory,” in which he created a signature motif to harmonize the interior and exterior of a house through the repetition of decorative details based on local natural forms. He frequently collaborated with Louis J. Millet on his commissions, including the Patrick J. King House (1901), from which this fireplace surround came. This extraordinary object is composed of glass mosaics and features one of Maher’s most prominent motifs, the stylized thistle. It is delicately rendered in shades ranging from pale seafoam green to vibrant greens, blues, and yellows. The fireplace surround is an outstanding example of Millet’s exacting execution of Maher’s designs.


On View, Gallery 178


Arts of the Americas


George Washington Maher


Fireplace Surround


United States (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oak and glazed earthenware


Surround: 130.8 × 209.6 cm (51 1/2 × 82 1/2 in.); Mosaic: 111.8 × 162.6 cm (44 × 64 in.); Opening: 76.2 × 90.2 cm (30 × 35 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Alan Wanzenberg in memory of Jed Johnson

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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