IMPORTANT CLASSICAL CARVED GILT-WOOD OVER-MANTLE MIRROR WITH CARVED PALM FROND DECORATION
Attributed to John Doggett (1780-1857)
The rectangular carved gilt-wood mirror frame with carved rosettes in each corner with engaged oval pilasters encrusted with carved decoration in the form of palm fronds.
70½ x 39¼ inches
Condition: Excellent: Small spots of repair throughout. Original gilt surface has been cleaned of dirt. Retaining original mirror plate and original backboards.
This is a carved gilt-wood over-mantle mirror of extraordinary quality. In over twenty years, we have seen very few Classical pier mirrors to match it and none to exceed it. One identical mirror is known in a private collection in New York City. Another virtually identical mirror, attributed to Doggett, is illustrated in Robert D. Mussey Jr. and Clark Pearce Rather Elegant Than Showy: The Classical Furniture of Isaac Vose (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018), 145. The palm frond is an ancient symbol of victory used by the Assyrians, Greeks and Romans and in western Christian art to symbolize the victory of the spirit over the flesh.
Recent scholarship by Richard C. Nylander, Curator Emeritus of Historic New England, indicates that this and many similar mirrors of the period were made by John Doggett, a highly successful gilder and frame maker, formerly of Roxbury, Massachusetts. Two pier mirrors with very closely related carving are pictured in Nylander’s article, “Framing the Interior: The Entrepreneurial Career of John Doggett. “ A slightly smaller pier mirror attributed to Doggett is also available on this website. An earlier mirror bearing Doggett’s label is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A similar tabernacle mirror labeled by Doggett is at the Dallas Museum of Art.
The present mirror could correspond to an invoice from Doggett in a letter book in the Winterthur collection, to Mr. H.W. Miller dated April 25, 1829 from Doggett’s Boston “Looking Glass and Carpet Warehouse/ No. 12, 14 & 16 Market St./ 1 Looking glass French plate $25.00” It is evident in Doggett’s letters that he was purchasing mirror plates from the Royal Plate Glass Manufactory in Paris in 1825.
 Richard C. Nylander, “Framing the Interior: The Entrepreneurial Career of John Doggett ” Boston Furniture 1700-1900 (Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 2016), 292-313. Samuel Curtis, Jr. (1785-1879), brother of Lemuel Curtis, clockmaker of Concord and Burlington, was apprenticed to Doggett. See; Kenneth Joel Zogry, Urban Precedents for Vermont Furniture, Magazine Antiques, May 1995, p. 769.
 Doggett Letters at Winterthur Library: http://content.winterthur.org:2011/cdm/landingpage/collection/Doggett