Looking glass

Collection Type

  • Furniture

Date

1806-1810

GUSN

GUSN-17431

Description

Pier mirror. White pine, gesso, gilt, paint, glass. Base of frame has gadrooning and small rope turning. Sides have large black and gilt rope turnings formed into knots at bases and loose untied strands as capitals. Corner blocks of base have lion's head bosses in black. Frieze of pediment displays relief scene with a crowd of figures in classical dress flanked by pilasters with small figures on pedestals in niches. Cornice conforms to shape of pediment and has gadrooned upper edge in black and gilt surmounting gilt balls. Attribution to Doggett on basis of bill in his account books to John Osborn, second occupant of Otis House, for looking glass frames of same dimensions.

Details

Descriptive Terms

looking glasses
mirrors
Norway spruce (wood)
gesso
gilding
figure- and animal-derived motifs
Classical
lion
heads (representations)
Pine
Gesso
Gilt
Paint
Glass
Classical Figure
Lion
Mirror

Label

"Cherished Possessions": This pier mirror, one of a pair, is among the finest ever used in Boston, Massachusetts. It is believed to be the one that appears in framemaker John Doggett's account book in February 1807 made for the Boston merchant John Osborn.
The tablet across the top shows a scene from the Trojan War in which Agamemnon's heralds have arrived to take the captive slave Briseis away from Achilles, a moment thought to change the tide of the war, for Achilles reacted in anger and refused to fight. The taste for the neoclassical style in architecture and furnishings had appeared in England and France in the mid-eighteenth century, but reached its height in America in the early years of the nineteenth.

Maker

Doggett, John (American mirror manufacturer, active 1809)

Location of Origin

Roxbury, MA

Object Type

Furniture

Dimensions

89 3/16 x 49 x 8 3/4 (HxWxD) (inches)

Credit Line

Museum Accession

Accession Number

1975.167.2

Places

Massachusetts (United States)