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Carved Looking Glass and Pair of Sconces

2001.97 (RS32573)

Description

Elaborately carved looking glass and pair of sconces; rococco-style frame features pagoda roofs, intricately carved garlands; lower corners of castellated walls with turrets and spires resting on grottos; monkey in an asymmetrical frame at center bottom; sconces composed of scrolling leaf carvings with twisted and cast metal leaves composing the arms and candle sockets.

Details

Label
"Cherished Possessions": Nathaniel Barrell of York, Maine, purchased this spectacular looking glass in London in 1763. What makes this looking glass truly extraordinary is the quality of the carving-the asymmetrical C- and S-curves, cascades, grottoes, and Gothic and Chinese motifs-in the prevailing rococo style. The stone-colored finish was an elegant alternative to the more commonly found gilding. There could have been few more fashionable or expensive looking glasses anywhere in the colonies. This one survives with its original sconces. An ensemble of this quality would far more likely be found in a princely home in England than in a provincial colonial town in coastal Maine.
Highlights of the furniture collection: Merchant Nathaniel Barrell purchased this spectacular looking glass and pair of sconces in London in 1763 and brought them back to his home in York, Maine, where they remained for more than two centuries. The quality of the carving -- the asymmetrical C- and S-curves, cascades, grottoes, and Gothic and Chinese motifs -- is extraordinary. The stone-colored finish was an elegant alternative to gilding.
Maker
Walker, Samuel (Maker)
Date
1763
circa
Associated Building
Original To Sayward-Wheeler House (York Harbor, Me.). Exhibited At Governor John Langdon House (Portsmouth, N.H.).
Material
carving (processes)
glass (material)
spruce (wood)
Object type
Furniture
Places
London (Greater London, England, United Kingdom)
Descriptive terms
carving (processes)
glass (material)
Mirror
mirrors
sconces
spruce (wood)
Dimensions
59 1/2 x 30 1/4 x 5 1/2 (HxWxD) (inches)
Accession Number
2001.97
Credit Line
Museum Purchase with support from Victoria DiStefano, Robert Rosenberg, Mary Simonds, and three anonymous gifts
GUSN
189453

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